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'I'm a victim of loud music' - gig veteran's quest to save Norwich festival-goers' hearing

PUBLISHED: 14:30 12 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:30 12 October 2019

Concert hall crowded with fans. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Concert hall crowded with fans. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

© Cesare Ferrari

A man who lost his hearing from years of listening to loud music is urging people to protect their ears and is urging festival-goers to take heed.

Jono Heale, from Norwich, suffers from Tinnitus and hearing loss, caused by exposure to loud music, and is working to raise awareness about the impact of not protecting your ears.

The symptoms of Tinnitus vary from person to person, but it generally manifests as a buzzing, humming, grinding or hissing sound, which comes from inside the ear rather than an outside source.

Mr Heale works for a company called ACS, which produces ear plugs that can protect the wearer from industrial level sound.

The company has teamed up with upcoming multi-venue Wild Paths Festival, which will launch in Norwich on Friday, October 18, to educate music lovers about the importance of protecting their hearing.

Mr Heale said: "What many music lovers don't realise is that their safe exposure time can be quite limited. I'm a victim of loud music and have music induced hearing loss and Tinnitus, which is permanent.

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"However, if you are aware of the danger to your hearing and use good quality high-fidelity hearing protection, you can seriously extend your exposure time, party on for longer and listen to the music without the muffle."

The company claims the collaboration, called Safe Sound City, is the first of its kind and Ben Street, Festival Director of Wild Paths, said he was keen to spread the word.

He said: "Having been a professional musician myself I know the importance of conserving your hearing but was lucky enough to have been educated on the benefits of wearing good quality hearing-protection.

"We want people to come and enjoy a full weekend of live music and DJ events but also look after their hearing."

According to the World Health Organisation, 1.1 billion young people are at risk from hearing loss and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.

The city-wide Wild Paths festival will see over 200 acts performing across 20 venues in the city over four days from Thursday, October 17 to Sunday, October 20.

The event aims to be as inclusive as possible and includes soul, jazz, rock, disco, folk, punk indie and world music.

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