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TINNITUS – a constant buzzing or ringing in the ears – seriously affects the lives of almost than 2.5m people in Britain.

But it seems most people don’t have a clue about the condition.

A recent study asked 1,000 people what tinnitus is – and 39 per cent of people said that they didn’t know.

A further 22 per cent said they thought it was an allergy to metal – and 11 people thought it was a repetitive strain injury.

A staggering 56 per cent had hurt their ears at a live concert because the music was so loud.

But only 33 per cent have ever worn earplugs or tried other forms of hearing protection.

Emma Harrison, director of public engagement at national charity Action on Hearing Loss, said: “Tinnitus can destroy a person’s quality of life. It is common among young people who go out clubbing regularly or who listen to music a lot.

“Many don’t realise that ringing in your ears after a night out is a warning sign that you could be permanently damaging your ears.

“There’s currently no cure for hearing loss or tinnitus.

“We want to make more people aware of what tinnitus is and that there is hearing protection available, such as wearing earplugs, when going to concerts or festivals.”

Action on Hearing Loss Information Line, 0808 808 0123 (freephone); 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email: informationline@hearingloss.org.uk.

www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk