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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-   31 July 2006

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The curse of the MP3

TODAY’S youth are at risk of going deaf up to 30 years earlier than their parents because they are listening to MP3 players too loudly and too often.  A new national survey, carried out to mark the launch of a partnership between Specsavers Hearcare and Deafness Research UK, found that 19% of people in the North West spend up to a staggering 28 hours a week listening to their personal music player.  More than a 3rd of people who have experienced ringing in their ears after listening to loud music, listen to their MP3 player every day. 82% of people who have experienced tinnitus after listening to loud music also go to nightclubs: of these, a quarter goes once a week or more. Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is a sign of damage to their hearing.

Over the next year, Specsavers Hearcare has pledged to raise £100,000 for Deafness Research UK and help raise awareness of hearing loss, which affects 1 in 7 of the UK population and is the nation’s second most common disability.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, says:- ‘Many young people are regularly using MP3 players for long periods of time and are frighteningly unaware of the fact that loud noise can permanently damage your hearing.  More than 3/4 of people own a personal music player and sophisticated sound systems in their car and homes, which allow them to blast out music day and night. We also spend more time today in bars and clubs where the noise is so loud we can barely hear the person opposite us and few people – particularly the 16-34 year old age group - are aware of the damaging effect all this can have on their hearing.’

The survey also revealed that 54% of people in London have never had a hearing test. Of those that have had a test, it invariably took place years ago when they were at school.

Vivienne Michael continues:- ‘Hearing loss can make life unbearable. It cuts people off from their family and friends and makes everyday communication extremely difficult. We want people to realise that their hearing is as important as their sight and protect their ears against any potential damage.  That is why we have joined forces with Specsavers Hearcare to further tackle hearing loss by raising awareness among the public about the causes and impact that this potentially devastating condition can have.’

The survey also found that:-

53% of Londoners are not aware that listening to loud music on a personal music player, going to loud bars/nightclubs/concert, playing loud music in the car or working with machinery, can damage their hearing.

22% of Londoners visit noisy bars, pubs or nightclubs once or twice a week

According to the Health and Safety Executive, noise levels exceeding 105 decibels can damage hearing if endured for more than 15 minutes, but many people are not aware how loud noise around them can be.

Decibels Noise type:-

0 The softest a person can hear with normal hearing

60 Normal conversation

85 Heavy traffic

110 Disco, car horn or shouting in the ear

112 Personal music player (on loud)

120 Rock concert or ambulance siren

125 Car stereo

Chairman of Specsavers Hearcare Doug Perkins has welcomed the new research:- ‘Specsavers revolutionised the British attitude to eyecare back in the 80s and now we plan to do the same again with our new hearing service, by working with Deafness Research UK to raise awareness of the need to protect our hearing. We are committed to improve hearing provision for all. Our aim is to make hear care more accessible for everyone by offering an affordable high street hearing service for throughout the UK.’

For further information on hearing loss, visit the Deafness Research UK website.


POP legends The Lightning Seeds are to headline Europe's biggest free city centre music festival.

Led by Ian Broudie, the band famous for hits such as 'Life of Riley', 'Pure', 'Lucky You' and 'Three Lions', will perform at the four-day Mathew Street Music Festival on Sunday, August 27.

The special one-hour greatest hits gig will be their first in Liverpool since the millennium and will be played at the world famous Pier Head in front of an estimated 20,000 people.

Broudie, who has not toured for seven years until this summer to promote the recently released 'Very Best Of' album, is preparing for an emotional homecoming. This is their final gig of the year and "the last for some time".

He said:- "I can't wait for this one. Mathew Street is where I got my musical education, borrowing records off the owner of Eric's club, then helping bands unload their gear to eventually DJ-ing there and then joining Big In Japan. For our final gig of the tour to be at this festival means I'll be coming full circle."

Currently producing The Coral's new album and with plans on making his next album for 2007, Broudie added:- "To play on the shores of the Mersey in front of a home crowd of thousands is special. I'm really excited. We'll be playing a selection of our biggest hits with some covers and hopefully the sun will shine to make it an unforgettable day."

A self-confessed Beatles-fan who can uniquely claim have been born on Penny Lane and grew up in Menlove Avenue - childhood home of John Lennon, Broudie added he's be hoping to catch some of the Beatles tribute acts over the weekend.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- "The Lightning Seeds are one the great Liverpool acts of the past 20 years and their gig will be one not to miss. To have them at the Mathew Street Music Festival highlights its growing status within the music industry.

Ian has a special place in the city's music scene from Big In Japan to producing Echo and the Bunnymen to The Zutons and the Coral. In a way he - more than anyone - is Liverpool's Mr Pop."

As well as The Lightning Seeds, festival organisers - the Liverpool Culture Company - have focused on showcasing home-grown talent, from the famous to the unsigned, to celebrate the 2006 Capital of Culture themed year - Liverpool Performs.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will open the festival for the first time with an open-air concert on the Pier Head at 7.30pm on Friday, August 25.

And from Saturday to Monday there will be a dedicated new band stage at the Pier Head which will feature 31 new or unsigned Liverpool bands.

The first hour on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-12noon, will be dedicated to the winners of an X-factor style music competition called Streetwaves, held across the city's seven neighbourhoods.

Part of their prize package also includes a day at Elevator Studios with expert producers, where the likes of The Zutons, The Coral, The Subways, The Automatic, The Lightning Seeds and The Kooks have worked.

Jason Harborow, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, added:- "We're constantly looking to improve our big events, like the Mathew Street Music Festival and this year we will have something for everyone.

We've a few more big names to be announced but I'm equally delighted that we're using the festival to showcase up and coming musicians. The fact there's so many proves the city's music scene is as hot as it's ever been."

A total of 76 bands - with some from as far as Norway to Argentina - will play live for free over the August Bank Holiday weekend - with Monday 28th hosting five stages across the city centre. More than 40 indoor venues will also be hosting free live music.

A record total of 370,000 people attended last year's festival, which was headlined by The Stranglers and Buzzcocks, generated more than £32.5m for the local economy.

More household names are to be announced by the Liverpool Culture Company in the coming weeks.

150,000 copies of the official 2006 Mathew Street Music Festival brochure will be available from Wednesday, 9 August 2006..

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