Deaf to the dangers of loud music14 July 2010

Live music has damaged UQ Business School graduate Daniel Lalor's ears, but he is not about to take that out on the bands or venues which may have contributed. Instead, the Windsor 23-year-old has started a campaign to make music fans aware of the importance of protecting their ears. Mr Lalor is using marketing, planning and sponsorship skills learned at University of Queensland Business School for the Music to my Ears Campaign. The campaign aims to get music fans to protect their ears, with a goal to get musicians and venue management to help spread the message. It all started when Mr Lalor developed tinnitus after going to a club in Darwin and still had ringing in his ears days later. Deciding there was little education for young music fans, Mr Lalor put together a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia. "I wanted to submit a paper for Generation Y. I thought a campaign needed to be launched. Then I decided to start the campaign myself," he said. "People are not made aware of the risks, like they are when it comes to smoking. They are not given the choice." Mr Lalor said the campaign aimed to make people aware of how hearing damage occurred, offer protection tips, and lobby music venues to keep to safe noise levels. The campaign would not push to have live music venues forced into lowering volumes, he said. "I have nothing against loud music. The thing is to protect your hearing health so you can enjoy music for longer. "I have been going to live music since I was 18. I would go at least once a week. I would come out with ringing in my ears. "The ringing would be gone the next morning so you don't think about it, but the ringing is generally a warning that you have subjected yourself to harmful noise. "A quick test is, if you have to shout to be heard over the music, it could be damaging." Mr Lalor has been using ear plugs since an audiologist diagnosed tinnitus, but has not given up going to gigs by favourite acts such as Sufjan Stevens, Jezebel and Jamie T. "Hearing protection has the stigma of being uncool. People are worried what it looks like, but customised musicians' ear plugs are discreet. "They are accepted in the live music scene. Musicians wear them. And no-one will see them in nightclubs because it is dark." Mr Lalor said one in six Australians would experience irreversible hearing loss and this was expected to reach one in four by 2050. Visit www.musictomyearscampaign.org.
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