Gary Flockhart: Now hear this, before it’s too late

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HEAR this: Two of the biggest pop stars in the country have launched a campaign to warn that loud music can cause permanent hearing loss. We should all listen up.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin and rapper Plan B both suffer from tinnitus - a constant, usually high-pitched buzzing sound in the ears - and they’re urging gig-goers to protect their ears before it’s too late.

Martin has suffered from the condition for more than ten years - and no, he’s not blaming it on Gwyneth’s constant nagging but on listening to too much loud music when he was a teenager. “I’ve had tinnitus for about ten years and since I started protecting my ears it hasn’t got any worse – but I wish I’d thought about it earlier,” he says. “Now I always use moulded filter plugs or in-ear monitors on stage”.

Plan B now has it so bad he can’t sleep without earplugs. “I wear special earplugs when I go to bed to help stop my ears from ringing” he says. “There’s no doubt it’s been caused by years of being subjected to very loud decibels of music.”

So, people, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re planning on attending any gigs - be they ear-bleeding metal or soft acoustic - now is the time to invest in plugs for your lugs.

The argument I often hear from those who don’t wear earplugs to gigs is that they “want to hear the music”. And you will. The best sort filter sound instead of blocking it out.

If you want advice on the different types of earplugs available, Action On Hearing Loss, the charity behind the campaign, has an excellent guide on its website.

Visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/loud-music/what-earplugs-and-headphones-should-i-buy.aspx