A music fan is urging people to wear ear plugs at gigs because she believes loud concerts caused her to develop the hearing condition tinnitus.
Jessica Berg, 31, from Newport, said she feels “trapped” by the constant ringing sound in her ears.
Her GP diagnosed her with tinnitus and said it was most likely as a result of exposure to loud music.
Action on Hearing Loss said the condition can make people feel “isolated” and “helpless”.
About one in 10 people in the UK suffers from tinnitus, which can cause stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and hearing loss.
The condition is often linked with Meniere’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and depression, but it is not known how it develops and there is no cure.
Now Ms Berg was diagnosed three years ago and says she concentrates on trying to control the depression and anxiety it can cause.
“They can’t really tell [what causes it] because it’s not a physical thing they can see in the ear, it’s something they have to guess,” she said.
“My very obvious answer for myself is live music. I used to go out a lot and see live bands. I never thought I should be wearing ear protection, I’d go and stand next to a speaker and never have a care in the world about it.
“I’m very careful now and would never go and stand next to a speaker, but there are products out there that would help protect further damage.
“I’ve tried them in a couple of gigs and I don’t get a spike in my tinnitus I don’t get a pain I don’t get pain the following days that I would get without protection.”
Although many people who develop tinnitus only experience the effects for a short time, often when dealing with a cold or a virus, it can cause serious issues for those who have it permanently.
“The first couple of years were horrendous. It really built up into affecting every single part of my life,” Ms Berg said.
“It makes you feel quite trapped at times because you just want to turn it off.”
Tips for dealing with tinnitus
Action on Hearing Loss suggests these techniques may be useful if you are struggling with tinnitus:
- Use calming music to distract yourself
- Learn more about it and discuss it with friends and family
- Use hearing aids if you are struggling with hearing loss
- A well balanced diet and exercise may help you deal with the effects