Hearing problems are on the rise among young people... and concerts and music festivals are largely to blame.
The World Health Organisation has found that over one billion young people worldwide are at risk, due to recreational sound exposure.
In Australia, one in six people is affected and the number is likely to rise to one in four by 2050.
Hear for You is a program run by deaf people for deaf children and adolescents, and is a part of the Australian Hearing Hub at Macquarie University.
Coordinator Rebecca Stewart says noise induced hearing problems are caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises: "Such as a day of being at a music concert, being around machinery, or even listening to your car radio at a loud volume all day”.
CEO David Brady describes our hearing as a lot like running.
"It gets tired," he said. "Sound pressure continually hitting your ear drums for a long period of time impacts your hearing health."
At a young age, it is important to take breaks when listening to music.
"This is the only way that you can continue listening to music later on in life, without having difficulties."
Concert and festival-goers often leave events with a ringing in their ears, which is a sign of tinnitus. The music industry is responsible for controlling levels of music exposure, in order to reduce issues to do with tinnitus and hearing damage. Sound is measured in units called decibels and noises over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.
"Moments Like This" was an electronic music event held at the Greenwood Hotel in North Sydney in September. Various international and local acts played - including Belgian techno artist Charlotte de Witte, DJ Koze, and Gerd Janson from Germany.
Noise levels were found to have reached between 120 to 129 decibels during peak moments. That’s almost as loud as a military aircraft taking off.
Wendell Benjamin, or Hoten as he is more commonly known, was a supporting act. He said it was the responsibility of event organisers to check that sound levels were safe.
“Most of the time, us DJs don’t get a chance before we play to figure those things out,” he said.
Two tradie-turned-DJs paying close attention to their hearing health are Daniel Vegara, 23, and Christopher Florio, 22. The construction workers have started going by the name DJ Senseless, and have played at venues such as Darling Harbour’s Home nightclub as well the Greenwood Hotel.
Daniel Vegara says he's noticed an "annoying ringing" in his ears after a night out.
"This got worse when we starting DJ-ing, because we’ll be right next to a speaker playing loud electro beats," he said.
“But we’ve bought special ear plugs that DJs all around the world use, so hopefully that’ll help”.
Noise reduction earplugs are recommended by HearSmart Australia as one of the ways music lovers can prevent noise-induced tinnitus and hearing loss. The not-for-profit organisation was launched in 2014 with the aim of improving the hearing health of Australians.
Layla El Ali has been going to festivals and raves for almost ten years and has attended many hardcore music events, worldwide. The 27-year-old suffers from hearing issues every day and attributes this to her love of loud music.
“My right ear can be blocked for months at a time," she said. "I've never bought good quality ear plugs because they are too expensive. And I’ve spent way too much money on these raves as it is.
It is commonly spoken about between people that party often. I know a lot of my raver friends have problems like me.
In 2010, the Federal Government conducted an inquiry into the extent and causes of hearing impairment, finding that Recreational Hearing Loss (RHL) was an increasing issue. At the time, headphones were a growing source of concern.
Edith Cowan University's Professor Paul Chang, explains that when people are in places with a lot of background noise, they tend to turn the volume on their headphones up.
"That tends to to push you over the quota of how much is safe to hear in a day," he said.
“You can’t stop anyone from listening to loud music, but you can have the right education in place so that they can make an informed decision."