Living with tinnitus What is tinnitus? 3. Who gets tinnitus? Tinnitus is very common and is reported in all age groups, even young children. About 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, but the number of people who live with persistent tinnitus is approximately 10%. Of those people who have persistent tinnitus, around 1 in 10 will find it has a significant impact on their quality of life. Tinnitus is more common in people who have hearing loss (usually caused by ageing, or exposure to loud noise) or other ear problems, but it can also be found in people with normal hearing. There are also a range of ailments that may cause tinnitus. Tinnitus Risk Factors There are a number of lifestyle choices or occupations which can carry a heightened risk of developing tinnitus. If you are exposed to loud noises in your day to day life you should wear ear protection. Below are a few groups of people who are at risk of developing tinnitus without the correct ear protection, but you can find out more on our How Loud Is Loud article. People exposed to music A constant exposure to loud music can leave you at risk of tinnitus. This includes people who play in bands, DJs and concert goers. You should always protect your ears in this environment. If you work somewhere where you are exposed to loud music your employers must supply you with ear protection under health and safety legislation. People working with loud machinery If you work with loud machinery daily then you could be leaving yourself open to developing tinnitus. You may get used to working with loud noises, but the damage is still being done and it can manifest itself before appearing in the form of tinnitus at any stage in life. Always wear ear protection, whether you’re dealing with a jackhammer or a lawnmower. People exposed to loud bangs If you’re exposed to an environment of loud bangs, whether at work or leisure, you should always wear ear protection. This includes soldiers who handle and fire weapons. People who listen to their headphones If you listen to music on your headphones then you could be placing yourself at risk of developing tinnitus. The best guidance on this is the 60/60 rule - you should never listen to your music above 60% volume and you should always have a rest after 60 minutes.