Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, recently joined the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) in Parliament to help launch the new “Listen for Life” campaign.
The initiative aims to address hearing loss in the night time economy and tackle the mental health challenges associated with tinnitus. The campaign has garnered significant backing from creatives and businesses across the UK.
The NTIA has partnered with Specsavers and is working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation’s Make Listening Safe UK campaign, aligning their efforts to create a safer auditory environment for all.
Hearing loss and Tinnitus are unfortunately prevalent among those working in the industry. The night time economy industry plays an important role in safeguarding the hearing of individuals in various roles, from bar staff to performers, security personnel, and crew members.
In addition to adopting the guidance provided by the WHO, the NTIA is introducing a campaign to collaborate with the industry. This initiative will promote the importance of testing, developing training, and raising awareness about the impacts of hearing loss and effective methods for protecting hearing when enjoying music.
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk of permanent hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices while enjoying recreational sounds, such as music. The Commission on Hearing Loss’s 2014 report estimated the cost of hearing loss to the UK economy at £24.8 billion, a figure that could potentially rise to £38.6 billion by 2031.
Hearing loss can be a predisposing risk factor for dementia, with mild hearing loss doubling the risk, moderate hearing loss tripling it, and severe hearing loss quintupling the risk. One in six people in the UK is affected by hearing loss.
The Listen for Life campaign’s goal is to reduce this number by raising an educational awareness so that people can safely enjoy music in their workplaces, social settings, and personal environments.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said:
“I truly did not understand the devastating impact that hearing loss has had on our industry prior to engaging in this campaign. I have spoken to hundreds of artists and DJs who have suffered for years with this debilitating issue. People have ended their careers because of this, so it is important to increase awareness and champion the future of hearing health for people coming into our industry, or just enjoying culture.”
Jeff Smith, co-chair of the Night Time Economy APPG, said:
“As co-chair of the Night Time Economy APPG I am really pleased to see the NTIA shining a light on this issue with the Listen for Life Campaign. Hearing loss can affect anyone, and it’s sadly prevalent in the music industry. Performers, staff and gig-goers at clubs and music venues need to be aware of the potential impact on their hearing of loud volumes and be supported to manage the risks safely. This campaign is an important step toward achieving that goal.”
Rob Shepheard, Consultant Audiologist, said:
“For nearly 4 decades I have treated countless individuals whose lives are greatly impacted by hearing loss and tinnitus. These conditions are extremely common with people working in or enjoying music rich environments. Although this sound induced injury is permanent, it is also 100% avoidable.”
“Sometimes it is not fully understood how much irreversible effect listening to loud sound can have on many aspects of our health and well-being. As the NTIA’s audiologist I am thrilled to see the work I have undertaken for the last 25 years in developing hearing health conservation taking shape in our “Listen For Life” Campaign, and to see the industry taking such a proactive step to maintain the health of everyone involved.”
Sonam Kaur Sehemby, Head of Clinical Training, Specsavers said:
“We as health care providers are passionate about delivering patient centred care and understanding the importance of hearing health through a coordinated national approach. Our partnership with the NTIA and access to care report allows us to highlight the scale of impact that needs to be addressed and the steps we can take to start the conversation nationally.”
Biff Mitchell, Festival Organiser, said:
“When I started in the industry in the early 80’s there was no mention of looking after your hearing. I can remember one crew putting cigarette filters in his ears because it was so loud at a Motorhead show he had to go to medical as one got stuck… There was no education. The end result is pretty much everyone who worked in events back then has now got hearing problems, one friend now has only 45 % hearing. I have had tinnitus for years, wearing ear protection has meant it’s not got worse and it’s only noticeable at times. We can’t let this continue and hopefully this campaign will make a difference.”