Protecting your ears at festivals

“Anyone with tinnitus caused by loud music will tell you how much they regret not getting hearing protection earlier. Protect your hearing now if you value it before it’s too late.”

Simple tips for festivals

With loads of festivals happening up and down the country every summer, it’s good to think about how best to protect yourself from tinnitus if you're heading out to a live event where it's likely to be loud.

We share this advice frequently through our tinnitus prevention campaign, Plug’em but usually that information is tailored more specifically to gigs and clubs where you’re likely to be in a smaller venue or an indoor arena.

At a festival it’s a bit different, because the location you’re in is likely to be far bigger, with lots of outdoor space. So actually that’s a really good thing.

But what it does mean is the volume might be turned up a bit louder and the noise from the audience is likely to be louder too.

Take and wear earplugs when you need to. As we said, there’s a lot more space at a festival compared to gig or club, which is great because it means you get time away from listening to the bands, which in turn means your ears can have a rest. BUT the key thing is in all the excitement, remember to put your earplugs in, and if you head off for a wander and are away from the music for a bit and take them out, please remember to put them in again when you’re back. You’d be surprised how many people forget!

Get the right type of protection. There are lots of types of earplugs for safe listening, and at loud live music events it’s a good idea to use ones with filters in. They lower the level of sound, but still enable you to hear everything, and often it sounds much better.

What about the kids? If you’re taking children with you to a festival, please, please, please make sure they wear the right hearing protection for their age. You want their experience to be great too, and getting them to learn about safe listening early in life is a really important thing to do. So make sure you equip them for the best experience – it’s likely they won’t know about safe listening so this is a great chance to talk to them about how important it is.

Keep your earplugs safe and clean! In a field, if you drop an earplug, you definitely wouldn’t want to put it back in your ear. You don’t want to be getting an ear infection after a great weekend away. So be prepared and take a spare pair or pairs just in case. AND keep a little sealable bag, something like a freezer bag, to hand to put them in when you aren’t wearing them. Some earplugs will come with a neck strap to attach them to, which means you can keep them safe. But if you don’t get a neck strap, a little sealable bag you can pop in your pocket or bag is a great way of keeping the dirt out!

Don’t stand by the speakers. We know we say it a lot, but it really is dangerous to be right next to the source of sound. We do hear from people saying they stood at the front to get a better view, and the speakers were right next to them and they believe that caused their tinnitus. So please, stand further back. And if you get jostled into a position you aren’t happy with, just get yourself and your friends away.

Take regular breaks. It’s really important that you give your ears a rest from time to time. A festival is great for this because there is always so much else to do. Go to a chill out area, look at the stalls and have some food, have a walk and give your ears a break. Or if you’re camping, head back to your tent for a bit if you can, and just have some downtime.

Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is really important for your well-being (especially as it might even get hot this summer at some point)! So water is essential! We know that at festivals or any live music event the temptation to have a few drinks and forget about the water can be high, but drinking water is also key to keeping your inner ear healthy. Make sure you take a bottle with you (environmentally friendly too!), and keep refilling at the water stations.

And lastly… Have a great time! If you love music, and who doesn’t?, then a festival is an amazing time to let your hair down, relax and enjoy yourself. But we want you to come away WITHOUT tinnitus or hearing damage. Because it can have a devastating impact on your life and we don’t want your love of music to cause you any problems. We want you to love music for a lifetime, and we hope our simple tips and advice can make sure you, your family and your friends continue to do so!