Protect yo' self before you wreck yo' self: How to protect your hearing

Do you think you could handle your ears ringing all the time? Neither could we. Check out these tips to prevent hearing damage, including tinnitus.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 8th Feb 2023

Ever woke up the day after a gig or rave and your ears were still ringing? Imagine that for months on end, sometimes permanently - that’s tinnitus. 

It’s Tinnitus Awareness Week, a time to bringing people's attention to the horrible condition that affects 15-20% of people in the UK. While tinnitus isn’t usually a sign of something “serious”, it can be incredibly uncomfortable, painful, frustrating, and, as musician Nick Cave so eloquently put it, “a pain in the arse.”

As fans of music and events, we’re particularly vulnerable to developing tinnitus, as loud music is one of the causes. Once your hearing is damaged, you cannot restore it. So it’s vital we do all we can to prevent this and other types of hearing damage. 

Here, we’ve taken a look at what tinnitus is, and provided tips to prevent it at events and at home. Check it out and start protecting your ears!


What is tinnitus? 

Note: turn your volume down, the above video is loud (ironically) 

The main symptom of tinnitus is hearing an internal noise in one or both ears or in your head. Typically, it’s a buzzing or ringing sound, but it can also be whistling, clicking, and other sounds. Tinnitus has a few causes and one of them is listening to music too loudly, which causes damage to the inner ear. 

And once your ears are damaged, you can’t go back. 

Sounds pretty horrible, right? If we can prevent it, we definitely should. And the good news is we can. Here are some tips for preventing tinnitus and other types of hearing damage.



Protecting your hearing at events

Hearing protection


Photo: Loop /

Maybe we, as a society, don’t consider it “cool” or whatever to use hearing protection at events, but we’d argue it’s much less cool to permanently damage your ears and lose your hearing out of fear of looking “uncool.”

Earplugs are perfect, no matter your budget. Some are better than others but most kinds will help at least a little.

Cheap foam ones are better than nothing, but if you can, silicone ones designed for musicians will keep the sound clear while blocking out the harmful frequencies. You can even choose how much sound they block out, with some even allowing you to hear your and your friend's voices clearly. This is also handy because screaming in each other's ears will cause damage too. 

If you’re the kind to tear it up in the pit for hours, it’s a great idea to get custom ones, if they’re in your budget, to ensure you don’t drop them to the bottom of a muddy, rowdy pit.

But if you’re skint, know it’s better to have cheap earplugs than none at all. 


Think about where you stand


Photo: Yan Krukau /

We understand better than anyone that the feeling of the music rattling through your skeleton is a tough one to beat. But if you’re standing right in front of a booming speaker that’s taller than you are, chances are it’ll be hammering your eardrums to death. Think about standing in the quieter spots. Especially if you’ve been to a lot of loud events recently. 


Use an app to check sound levels 


Photo: James Yarema /

If you don’t know where’s best to stand, you can use apps (like Decibel X) that tell you how loud it is. Pretty cool, right? Whip out your app, and if it says the sound is 85dB or higher, maybe think about moving to a quieter area. Sounds over 70dB can cause damage over a prolonged period of time. Noise over 120dB can cause immediate damage. 


Take breaks from the tunes


Photo: Zamaie Chinye /

Whether you're stood where it’s quiet or have your head pressed up against the speaker, it’s a shout to have a break every now and then. If a song you don’t care for comes on, step outside for a sec and rest your ears. If you're at a festival, step out the tent and grab a pint or a tray of chips. And hope there isn't a guy selling sunglasses blasting Insomnia next to it. 


Think of the children!


Photo: Highest Point /

If you have littluns with you, it’s essential you do what you can to protect their hearing. Their ears may be more vulnerable to damage, especially if they’re babies, because their ear canal is smaller, making the sound louder as it enters the ear. Ear defenders are a must. And some events may also refuse entry without adequate protection for their tiny, sensitive ears. Kids should also be in the quieter areas of the venue. With giant ear defenders, there's also the plus side of looking at their tiny heads in these huge protectors you'd expect to see on builders. Cute isn't even the word.



Protecting your hearing at home

Don’t ignore that annoying sound feature!


Photo: Caio / 

It’s beyond irritating when your phone automatically turns the volume down when you’re listening to a banger. But these features are there for a reason - to protect your hearing. So when you try to turn it back up and it gives you that pop-up that basically says, “are you sure? We’re trying to help your ears!” maybe give it a second thought before you tap “whatever” and crank it back up. 


Invest in noise-cancelling headphones


Photo: Garrett Morrow /

With external noise blocked out, you won’t find yourself cranking it up to 11 to hear the music properly. Simple. 


Take breaks when listening to music


Photo: Martin Sanchez / 

A little five-minute break every hour can give your ears time to rest. 


Reduce exposure to loud sounds


Photo: Yaroslav Shuraev /

Some of us have ancient washers and dryers that make so much noise they sound like there’s a war going on inside them. If that’s you, try to stay away from whatever it is while it’s on. And if you have a few noisy appliances, try not to turn them all on at the same time. If you need to mow the lawn or do something else that requires you to be around loud noise, bust out those earplugs! 


Consider new products carefully 


Photo: RODNAE Productions / 

If it’s time for a new blender, dryer, or strimmer, check out how loud it is before you buy. The lower the decibels (dB), the better.



After the damage is done

Sometimes you forget to bring your headphones, are too drunk to care, or you didn't realise how important is was to protect your hearing. Here's what to do after exposure to loud noise with no ear protection. 


Have a break from noise


Photo: Blaz Photo / 

Whether your ears are ringing or not, it’s a fantastic idea to have a break from loud noises after you’ve been exposed to it at a gig, festival, rave, sport event, or anything else loud. Avoid going to more events, listening to music loudly, going to the cinema, and any other loud noises you can think of. 


Speak to a doctor


Photo: cottonbro studio /

If you’re concerned about your ears ringing, strange sounds in your head, pain, or if you feel like your hearing might be deteriorating, speak to your doctor. Google can be useful for general advice, but only a doctor can tell you what you need to do and if there’s anything to be concerned about. 



It’s never too late to start protecting your hearing. If you think, “well, the damage is done, so what’s the point?” know that your hearing can get worse, and it will if we don’t protect ourselves. Late is better than never. Protect yo' self before you wreck yo' self!

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