Plan B and Chris Martin back earplug campaign

Plan B Rapper and actor Plan B only learnt of his condition when he visited an ear specialist

Tinnitus sufferer Plan B is supporting a charity campaign which urges music fans to protect their hearing.

Tinnitus, a constant buzzing in the ear, is often caused by loud music and is prevalent among musicians and frequent concert-goers.

The Loud Music campaign aims to make people aware of the dangers.

"If you're listening to music a lot, producing music or performing live, then always wear earplugs," said Plan B. "You're not Superman!"

I damaged my hearing

Twenty years ago, as the CD I was listening to faded out, I noticed a constant, high-pitched hum in my room. It sounded like a TV had been left on with the sound turned down. But the TV was unplugged at the wall.

Eventually, I chose to ignore the noise and slowly wrestled myself to sleep. When I woke, it was still there. It is still there today.

I developed tinnitus because I play the drums. It turns out that the volume and pitch of the cymbals, positioned handily at ear level, is a perfect way to damage your hearing. But even a short exposure to loud noise can trigger tinnitus.

Luckily, my condition is manageable and I cannot hear the 16kHz buzz above normal conversation. But I wish someone had offered me ear protection when I was younger. You don't miss silence until it's gone.

"When I first developed it, I thought it was trains rushing by my house as I live near a railway line - it was really loud and an extremely high-pitched ringing in my ears," the 28-year-old singer says.

"There's no doubt it's been caused by years of being on stage and subjected to very loud decibels of music."

The Action on Hearing Loss campaign includes adverts and a video featuring people's ears being attacked by a drill or hammer.

Earplugs will be handed out during London's Camden Crawl this weekend, which showcases new music talent and is credited with bringing artists such as Amy Winehouse into the limelight.

"Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don't think about until there's a problem," said Coldplay's Chris Martin, who is also backing the campaign.

"I've had tinnitus for about 10 years, and since I started protecting my ears it hasn't got any worse. But I wish I'd thought about it earlier.

"Now we always use moulded filter plugs, or in-ear monitors, to try and protect our ears."

Chris Martin The Coldplay frontman has been suffering from tinnitus since he was 25

The campaign includes five tips on how music lovers can avoid permanent damage to their ears, including standing back from speakers and using chillout zones in clubs.

Judge Jules, Jazzie B and DJ Smith have added their backing, while 70s chart-topper Gary Numan said he wished he had taken advice earlier.

"I didn't look after my ears and I'm in trouble," said Numan, 54. "It's getting serious, to the point that I can't mix my music properly anymore, so it's majorly impacted on my career.

"If I'd just looked after them when I was younger then this would never have happened, so I very much regret it.

"I would often be at gigs, standing at the front next to the speakers, not wearing earplugs, thinking I'm cool and being manly, but that's just rubbish, it's stupid.

"So look after your hearing and wear earplugs."

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