Back in 2014 we ran a survey to ask musicians what the big issues affecting their health and wellbeing were. 47% of respondents said that they had experienced hearing issues or problems either occasionally or frequently. We also found research elsewhere that told us that musicians were 5 times more likely to suffer hearing loss than the population as a whole, and 57% more likely to have tinnitus.
We then learnt that noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, but that once it’s occurred it can never be put right. Musicians have a particular problem which is that to do their job effectively, they produce sound – often loud sound – which damages one of their most valuable tools, their ear.
Knowing this we had very little choice but to try to help musicians by doing something about it. That meant two main things:
- Help musicians prevent hearing damage
- Help musicians who have suffered hearing loss cope with it, and stop it getting worse.
To make sure our help and advice is realistic and relevant we ran a more detailed survey, asking musicians what hearing issues they had experienced, how they felt about them and what they had been able to do about them? The results of that survey can be found here.
From that survey, from talking to musicians, and from working with experts in hearing and music, it became clear that we could help in three main ways:
- Information and advice about how to protect your hearing or cope with hearing loss
- Helping musicians access services that understand their needs and how best to meet them, including financial help when its needed
- Working with hearing experts to improve for musicians the responsiveness, understanding and accessibility of both NHS and private audiology services.
So that’s why today we are launching a new dedicated hearing section on our website, which contains a wealth of information about how hearing works, how it can be damaged, how it can be prevented, and where help is available. We hope you find it interesting and helpful. We know it won’t be perfect from day one, so please do let us know what you think – what you like and what we could do better?
We’ll also be taking our message out on the road – at festivals and music business events, as well as next year running our own events. Look out for us!
In the meantime if you do need help or advice about hearing, or anything else affecting your carer for that matter, don’t hesitate to get in touch.