Glen Mitchell, 53, was diagnosed with #tinnitus only 12 weeks before his death. After attending a #Rock gig at his local club, he was left with country and western songs playing in his head on a loop. As time went on, the retired fireman couldn't even bare a kettle boiling, the noise of the extractor fan or his wife Linda breathing too close to him. Mrs Mitchell has now blasted NHS doctors for the lack of support and information given to her husband when he was diagnosed with the condition.

What is tinnitus?

The Latin for 'noise', tinnitus is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds when they aren't there.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Varying in loudness, the condition is normally continuous but can also be intermittent - symptoms stemming from damaged ears. We can all subject our ears to potentially damaging noise; from loud noises in our homes to nightclubs and gigs. You've probably already experienced ringing after a night out but thought nothing of it, but this is the warning signs of damaged ears which can lead to tinnitus. After trying to take his life a first time, Mr Mitchell was referred to ears, nose and throat (ENT) specialists. However, none of which confirmed he had hearing damage. Linda says "By this time he had also developed hyperacusis, a sensitivity to sound, and I was really pushing for more support." Now, four years later, Mrs Mitchell has shared her story as part of British Tinnitus Associations (BTA) 'Share Your Sound' campaign.

Advertisements

What is being done about it?

Unfortunately, over 30% of the world's population is expected to experience tinnitus in their life, and 10% will have the condition permanently. There are ways to cope with it, but also a number of ways to ensure you don't develop the condition. BTA has a number wide-reaching campaigns that target people suffering from tinnitus, including 'Share Your Sound'. The blockbuster film Baby Driver also recently addressed the condition where the star suffered from tinnitus. Specifically, within music venues, this is one initiative raising awareness about this condition and offering prevention to ensure people don't meet the same harrowing fate as Glen Mitchell. Alpine Hearing Protection and Watch The Hype have partnered to create the All Ears campaign, shedding light on the risks involved with prolonged exposure to loud music whilst providing people with solutions to avoid irreversible damage. After all, the most precious sense for any music lover is their hearing!

So far over 10 prominent electronic music venues, including Oval Space, Corsica Studios, Village Underground and The Pickle Factory in London, have shown their support for this initiative and now offer high fidelity hearing protection.

Advertisements

Consisting of this physical presence within clubs, there is also a dedicated #AllEars website which offers information about tinnitus and tips for those who already suffer. All Ears is supported by the British Tinnitus Association, industry professionals, artists, the London Night Czar and other hearing loss charities.

High-fidelity earplugs, which All Ears are supplying in venues, have advanced music filters that reduce the volume of the music to safe levels whilst keeping the music clear. Wearing these is the primary prevention method when attending music concerts and gigs.

Why not just turn down the music?

The campaign says "the immersive experience of club music isn’t just down to hearing, it’s down to feeling. If you turn the music down, you lose all the low-end power your body needs to feel present. However, with this low-end power comes dangerously loud mid and high frequencies." To find out more about the campaign, visit their website allearscampaign.com. #clubbing