Is shopping damaging your hearing?


A trip to the shops can be an assault on the senses with crowds of people invading personal space, pushing and shoving, then there’s the sound system with piped music, interspersed with announcements of the latest deals. It’s enough to make you stay on the sofa in your pyjamas and do your shopping on the internet!

Last week, Marks & Spencer announced that ten years after introducing in-store music, they would be scrapping this. The company made the decision after receiving negative feedback about the music from customers and staff.

This was a welcome change for many, not least a group, Pipedown, who have been campaigning for freedom from unwanted music in public places. They state that being subjected to unwanted noise raises blood pressure and depresses the immune system. It also causes difficulty for people who suffer with their vision as they rely on background noises to find their way around, something they cannot do so well when there is music playing.

Constant background noise and music can also be problematic for people suffering with hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Many of our clients who have noise induced hearing loss struggle to hear conversations in places where there is background noise. This can turn a nice social event, such as going out for a family meal into a stressful situation for someone with hearing problems, making them feel isolated and unable to enjoy the evening.

People who wear hearing aids can find that background music interferes with their devices and they may have to choose between hearing everything or turning their aid off altogether, potentially compromising their safety.

You may think that a bit of music in the background as you eat or shop is nice, relaxing even, but could this music actually be damaging your hearing?

Last week, Charlotte Kemp, a reporter for the Daily Mail, visited a number of stores and used a decibel meter to record the volume. She found the following:


Topshop, Oxford Circus



Apple, Regent Street



Hunter, Regent Street



Hollister, Regent Street



River Island, Maidstone



Morrisons, Maidstone



Marks & Spencer, Kensington



Co-Op Local, Ilminster



House of Fraser, Maidstone



Laura Ashley, Maidstone 47.6 59

It should be noted that a quiet room, such as a library has recorded ambient noise levels of around 40dB and a busy office can be anything between 50 and 60 dB.

While the noise levels recorded in the shops are unlikely to cause hearing loss, repeated, prolonged exposure to noise over 85dB can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

So, the music in stores, although irriating, is not likely to cause damage to hearing. However, we welcome Marks & Spencer’s new stance on music in stores. By lowering background noise they are helping people who suffer with hearing loss, increasing their enjoyment of their shopping experience.

What’s My Deafness Claim Worth has extensive experience in dealing with people suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus. We have a specialist team of solicitors, as well as a fully trained audiologist, who will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our team understands that it can be a very difficult and daunting time for you and they will do their best to offer an unparalleled support network and specialist legal expertise. If you have suffered a personal injury, which was not your fault, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.If you are suffering from loss of hearing, buzzing or ringing in your ears, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.

If you have been affected by hearing loss or exposure to noisy working environments you should not hesitate to contact us or to try our ‘Calculate my Claim’ feature on the right hand side of this page to see what your claim may be worth. We understand that the symptoms that you are suffering from can have serious consequences on your day to day life. When fighting for your compensation we take into account any time you have had to take off work, any treatment you have had to pay for including the cost of hearing aids and any other losses that you may have incurred.

All claims are dealt with on a no win, no fee basis.

Call 0800 849 8700 to speak to a member of our specialist team of Industrial Disease lawyers who will assist you further with this matter.


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