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News, 7 february 2018

OVERWHELMING DEMAND FOR HEARING SCHEME PROMPTS EXPANSION AND RE-LAUNCH BY LEADING CHARITY

Help Musicians UK (HMUK), the country’s leading independent music charity, is responding to unprecedented demand for its Musicians’ Hearing Health Scheme by re-launching with more audiology clinic locations and a widening of the eligibility criteria.

With 2,800 musicians benefitting from the scheme since mid-2016 – entitling them to a specialist hearing assessment and bespoke hearing protection (over £200 in value for £40) – the charity is forecasting around 21,000 more musicians to take part by 2021.

Delivered by audiologist partners Musicians’ Hearing Services, as well as the Musicians’ Union (providing a £10 discount for their members), the scheme was borne out of a 2015 survey by HMUK that revealed musicians are at increased risk of hearing damage, with 78% of respondents attributing music as a factor to their hearing loss.

HMUK, which pledged to become a truly national charity as part of its strategic review in 2016, has responded to the significant demand by ensuring all corners of the UK can take advantage of this landmark scheme.

In recent years, many high-profile musicians have talked publicly about their struggle with tinnitus and the impact on their careers. And in time with Tinnitus Awareness Week, HMUK want to highlight to musicians that help and support is available. It’s never too early to start looking after your hearing.

DJ, producer and audio engineer Simon Baker said: “I was affected by tinnitus on and off throughout my 20-year DJ career, and I didn’t actually start wearing hearing protection in clubs until it got really bad. At the time I was carefree but looking back I wish I had acted earlier. It’s amazing to know there’s a scheme out there that’s providing musicians with easy and affordable access to quality hearing protection.”

The Musicians' Hearing Health Scheme offers the following:

  • Audiological assessment and ear check-up from a specialist in musicians' hearing (worth up to £100)
  • One set of custom-made musicians' hearing protection (worth £140+)
  • A two-yearly call back, where appropriate, for a subsidised hearing test
  • Expert advice on referral routes and next steps to manage any problems
  • Option of wax removal, if necessary, at a subsidised rate of £40

To make the scheme more accessible, the eligibility criteria has been widened to professions including composers, music producers, journalists, managers, technicians, engineers as well as employees of music industry bodies and charities.

Additional clinics are also opening across the country, reaching those across the UK’s nations and regions.

The 17 clinic locations are: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, London x3, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Southampton

Joe Hastings, Health & Welfare Manager at HMUK said: “Hearing is critical for musicians, and the impact of losing it can be a profound and sensitive issue. In the less than two years since the scheme began, we have seen incredible demand. It’s really exceeded our expectations. We’re thrilled to be expanding the scheme during Tinnitus Awareness Week and making it accessible to more people who work in the industry.”

Paul Checkley, Clinical Director, Musicians’ Hearing Services said: “We are delighted that this innovative scheme provides robust specialist hearing protection and a hearing health check to working musicians right across the UK. Noise-induced hearing loss is an invisible threat that is difficult to detect in its early stages. But noise damage results in permanent hearing loss and this can be catastrophic for a career in music. I am so pleased that we were able to help spread the word about the dangers of repeated exposure to loud music.”

Diane Widdison, National Organiser - Education and Training, the Musicians’ Union said: “We have been involved in helping our members protect their hearing for over 10 years and are therefore delighted to be partners on this scheme, which allows musicians to access the affordable ear protection which is needed and from specialist providers who understand the specific issues musicians face. We would encourage musicians working across all genres of music and across the whole music industry to engage with the scheme to benefit from protecting their hearing before damage has occurred.”