"Why is it so loud in here?"

How many times have you been out and thought that. Or been to the cinema and had to put your hands over your ears, or in a gym class listened to the instructor shouting over the music. Or maybe you've heard children in a party screaming louder because the DJ tells them to.

These things happen every day, and to everyone.

Most people going to a club, or gig will come away with tinnitus for a short period, others aren't so lucky and the tinnitus doesn't stop. Ringing ears are sometimes seen as the sign of a good night out. But is it really?!

It's not just clubs and pubs. Levels of sound in lots of other places are far louder than they used to be, shopping centres, restaurants, gym classes, kids parties. Sadly not enough people know what safe sound levels actually are, and how long you can be exposed to these before potential tinnitus and hearing damage can be caused.

Through the BTA’s new Safe Around Sound campaign, which will launch later in the year, we want to:

  • Find out more about social noise levels and how these make you feel
  • Make more people aware of safe social listening
  • Equip people with the facts they need to make the right choices around safe sound levels.

Why are we doing it?

We know people with tinnitus can feel isolated at times, and that some people with the condition will worry about or even stop going on social outings due to being anxious that sound levels will be too loud and might affect their tinnitus. At the BTA we want to make sure this doesn’t happen because we want everyone with tinnitus to live fulfilled and happy lives.

Our Safe Around Sound campaign will be raising awareness of social sounds, and helping you feel more able to speak out when levels are too loud.

How are we going to do this?

Firstly we need your help to get an idea of how loud social environments can be. Some of the BTA staff have already been measuring sound levels where possible, but there simply aren’t enough of us to get an idea of the wider impact, so we need your help.

You might be going to the theatre, cinema, the gym, a wedding, the supermarket, a shopping centre, a local café, pub, music event, sporting event or children’s party for example and we’d love if you could take some sound level measurements, just by using an app on your phone.

How to get involved:

  1. Learn about sound. Before you take any readings, take a look at some sound level and exposure time examples. You can find these on our tinnitus prevention site Plug’em, at plugem.co.uk/how-loud-is-loud
  2. Download a decibel (dB) level meter app. We recommend the NIOSH app for iOS or the Sound Meter - Decibel meter & Noise meter app for android phones
  3. When you’re at the event/place, take readings of the sound levels. Hopefully you may be surprised and find out that what you thought was too loud actually isn’t. But either way, DON’T forget to wear your earplugs!
  4. Take a screenshot/s of the sound levels you record and email them to [email protected] by 14 September 2019. Remember to tell us a little bit about where you were, what was happening, when you were there and which sound level app you used
  5. Tell us who you are and how did you feel about the sound levels? We need to know your name, age, if you're a member of the BTA and let us know whereabouts you live (none of this will be shared without your agreement – we just want to know who is getting involved)

It’s really important to make sure you have hearing protection to use if you are going to be somewhere where the sound levels may be overly loud. Hopefully you’ll already have earplugs, if you don’t, we sell filtered earplugs for £4.50 per pair inc P&P. These earplugs drop the level of sound, but don’t alter the quality of what you are listening to. They are reusable and can be purchased from our shop at www.tinnitus.org.uk/shop.

We hope you will want to get involved, but if you aren't sure and if you have any questions please get just in touch. We look forward to receiving your emails and readings.