RNID researchers have discovered that more than one in five people listen to music at sound levels of 100 decibels or more – the equivalent of hearing a pneumatic drill ten feet away.
DJ Judge Jules43has paid the price of years of loud tunes. He now suffers tinnituspermanent ringing in both ears.
He says: "I now wear bespoke earplugs designed to fit in your ear canal and not obvious to the outside world. Quite a lot of DJs wear earplugs. They are an investment in your health."
The DJ has played sets at clubs all over the world for the past 20 years and knows how important it is to look after your ears. Yethe regularly sees revellers gravitating towards speakersparticularly when they have had too much to drink.
"With hearingyou've got one shot. If you lose itit's gone," he told The Sun.
Meanwhilethe number of people experiencing ringingbuzzing or whistling in their ears is growing. The latest research by the RNID shows that seven million people in the UK suffer from tinnitus.
Emma Harrison from RNID said: "Young people are more likely to listen to music players for long periods – often on their way to and from school or college - with poor quality headphones that need high volumes to hear properly.
"Many keep headphones in when they talk to othersso they are not giving their ears a rest.
"The younger someone is when they damage their hearingthe sooner in adulthood those signs of damage show up. Our research shows that many young people don't realise that music can damage their hearing.
"Thiscoupled with the difficulty in finding out how loud your MP3 player actually ismeans that children and parents are not receiving enough information about hearing damage to make an informed choice."
The EU is consulting experts on new standards to make it clear that safe use of personal music players depends on exposure time and volume levels.
New devices will have a limited default volume setting of 80dBalthough the user can override thiswith advice that exposure should be limited to 40 hours per week.
Manufacturers will also have to include warnings and hearing damage information in their packaging.
Here are five tips to protect your hearing and manage tinnitus:
1. Keep the volume level on your MP3 player at no more than 80 decibels - just over halfway on the volume control. 2. Keep your listening time to a maximum of 40 hours per week. 3. Wear earplugs if you are exposed to high levels of noise. 4. Reduce your listening time and give your ears a regular break. 5. If clubbingtake regular breaks in chill-out zones. Do not stand near speakers.