Hearing problems can become apparent through years of wear and tear. With age being the most common cause of hearing loss, problems are usually gradual and are influenced by decisions made over the years.

However, although less common, hearing loss can come about instantly following an oversight of the potential problems that could be caused in a scenario. This is just what happened last month when the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel stood just inches from the starting pistol fired to mark the beginning of a race in Brussels without any hearing protection.

The result of standing close to the starting pistol left the prime minister with partial hearing loss. Pictures show the PM in significant discomfort as Astrid, the sister of Belgium’s King Philippe, fired the blank.

A spokesperson since said that Mr Michel was suffering from partial deafness and tinnitus. Just days after the event, he underwent extensive medical tests in a bid to treat the problem “as soon as possible after the incident”.

It’s no surprise that the gunfire caused the damage but what is surprising is that the PM was allowed to stand so close to the starting pistol. Nobody must have told him that the gunshot can be anywhere from 140-190 decibels. To put that into perspective, standing 25 meters from a jet taking off is 150 decibels. Anything over 140dB can cause damage to hearing.

The PM has now returned to work but after the incident, we’re sure he’ll be more wary of his hearing in the future.

Hearing protection

Whether it’s for frequent use in a job or for invariable use at occasions like the above, hearing protection is a must for various scenarios. Keeping your hearing healthy is about knowing the levels of sound that you’re being exposed to.

Protection helps you to reduce exposure to dangerous levels of noise. At The Hearing Centre, we have a range of protection for different needs.

Charles Michel would have found our shooting protection useful while we have others for motorsports, industrial, swimming and sleeping.

If you are interested in any of the protection listed or would like to find out if you require hearing protection or the effect not wearing protection has had on your hearing, get in touch with us on 0116 254 3909.