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      Volunteers raise £10,000 at summer concerts

      Volunteers in Northern Ireland successfully raised more than £10,000 in May and June at some of Belfast’s biggest summer concerts.

      70 volunteers helped give out earplugs, rainproof ponchos and other merchandise at ten concerts, including Belsonic and Snow Patrol at Ward Park.

      Concertgoers were provided with free earplugs as part of our #DontLoseTheMusic campaign, supported by the Public Health Agency. The campaign aims to encourage concertgoers to protect their hearing to prevent them developing permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.

      Noise induced hearing loss is an increasing concern, with The World Health Organisation estimating that 40% of people frequenting concerts are exposed to potentially damaging sound levels.

      Action on Hearing Loss found that 50% of people aged 18-24 in the UK have experienced tinnitus (often known as ringing in the ears), which can become permanent and cause anxiety, stress and depression.

      Wearing earplugs is the best way to protect your hearing at a concert as it reduces the decibel levels, making for safer listening.

      As well as attending concerts, we’ve been busy sharing facts about music and hearing loss on social media, and encouraging music lovers to spread the word and share our hashtag.

      Alan, from Glengormley, has tinnitus after years of attending concerts. He said:

      “I first noticed something was odd in the mid 90's at a Def Leppard gig. Towards the end of the concert the sound started to lose definition and it was almost just a screeching in my ears. My ears continued to ring for a few days following the gig. I went to a Prodigy gig in 1997 and was completely deaf for three days. This reduced to a loud ringing in my ears for a week or so after which has been with me ever since.

      When I was young I was aware to some extent, but I didn’t fully understand the impact that loud music can have on your hearing. To concertgoers now I would say, definitely wear earplugs and protect your hearing!”

      Claire Lavery, Director at Action on Hearing Loss, said:

      “We’re so pleased to have raised more than £10,000 so far to support the 1 in 6 people with hearing loss in Northern Ireland. Hearing loss and tinnitus can lead to isolation, cause stress and communication difficulties and lead to lack of sleep. We’re passionate about raising awareness and encouraging young people in Northern Ireland to protect and value their hearing and enjoy the concerts at a safer level. We’re halfway through our campaign and are looking forward to returning to CHSq and Belfast Vital in August.”

      To find out more about the #DontLoseTheMusic campaign visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/dont-lose-the-music

      Volunteers raise £10,000 at summer concerts