Musicians reveal their pain as Tinnitus Awareness Week begins

Musicians reveal their pain as Tinnitus Awareness Week begins

Tinnitus Awareness Week takes place on 5-11 February this year. One in 10 people are affected by the condition, with musicians particularly susceptible. In recent weeks musicians from very different backgrounds have hit the headlines after saying their hearing has been damaged by their careers.

In January Eric Clapton revealed he was suffering from Tinnitus and was ‘going deaf’ during an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright. Other singers who have said they suffer from the condition include The Who’s Pete Townshend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Neil Young and Will.I.Am.

Meanwhile, a leading viola player who says his tinnitus, amongst other hearing problems, was caused by loud music during rehearsals, has just begun a landmark case against the Royal Opera House. Christopher Goldscheider claims the harmful noise levels occurred in 2012 when he was sitting near an 18-strong brass section when rehearsing for a performance of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The case could have a huge impact for those involved in live performance as the musician could receive more than £1 million in damages.

There are many other industries where noise is a daily fact of life and can cause tinnitus, even years later. Manufacturing, construction, entertainment, the military and agriculture are some of the industries known to cause the problem.

Reduce the noise level by three decibels

Safe exposure limit to sound at work is calculated by a combination of exposure time and sound intensity. According to the Tinnitus Organisation UK, “reducing the noise level by only three decibels would allow a doubling of the exposure time, but this is not feasible for performances as controlling playing time is not really a very effective way of managing a musician’s noise exposure”.

Most international regulations for exposure at work state that the loudest noise someone should be exposed to for an eight-hour working day is 85 decibels (dB):


Suffering from tinnitus and dealing with the excessive ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming it can cause can be incredibly frustrating and impact heavily upon your life. If you think that your tinnitus has been caused by working in an excessively loud environment such as a factory, nightclub or construction site, you may be entitled to claim for compensation, but only if you can prove that your employer is responsible for causing the condition.

Tinnitus is a symptom of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) which is a condition that is acquired through excessive noise exposure. Many people suffer from a form of tinnitus, especially later in life. This means that many people do not associate their tinnitus with their old workplace and instead blame it on everyday activities. If you have worked in a noisy environment in the past it is most likely that your tinnitus is a result of the noise exposure, this can be due to a number of factors such as lack of protection or time spent operating machinery.

If you believe that you have tinnitus and it has been caused by excessive noise within your current job or a previous occupation, why not speak with our expert team who are on hand to discuss the matter and investigate whether you could be eligible for compensation. Freephone 0800 001 4496 or fill in one of our contact forms and we would be more than happy to call you back.