Close this search box.
Home » Dutch people on earplugs en masse

Dutch people on earplugs en masse

dutch people onn earplugs en masse

Milestone in the fight against tinnitus: strong increase in sales of earplugs.

Taboo is gone

Earplugs are more popular than ever. Hearing care professionals and suppliers have seen sales of custom hearing protection explode over the past six months, according to independent research. Experts speak of a milestone and a “turning point in our awareness”.

With Carnival and the concert season just around the corner, customers come and go at the hearing stores. Young people in particular are increasingly opting for more expensive, custom-made earplugs, often exceeding 100 euros. They want to reduce the chance of getting tinnitus (ringing in the ears), says Carmen de Jonge, chairman of the Dutch Association of Hearing Care Professionals (NVAB). “The taboo among young people is slowly disappearing. The stories in the newspaper of well-known Dutch people who have tinnitus make them think. In any case, they now understand that the simple ‘foams’ are not sufficient.”

Dennis Havermans, director of market leader ‘Beter Horen’, confirms this trend on behalf of the sector association De Quality Audiciens. According to him, hearing protection in the 20-35 age group is “increasingly becoming the norm”. “There is really a change in our thinking going on and that is of course fantastic news. It is an explosive increase.”

Figures confirm that. In the past six months, the total sale of the ‘normal’ earplugs has been more than one and a half times higher than in the same period in 2019, research agency ‘Nielsen IQ’ reports. This collects sales data in the Dutch hearing protection market. Our country is now an international leader when it comes to raising awareness about ear protection, says Alpine Hearing Protection, one of the largest manufacturers in the world. They have been selling custom earplugs since 1995, including through ‘Hans Anders’.

Bird’s eye view

Thanks to the media attention, a change in behavior is visible among young people, both the Quality Hearing Care Professionals and the NVAB have noted. “In the shops, customers say that they have read several articles about it. For example, one of them said: “I know someone who has tinnitus. He never said that before, but now also warns'”, says the NVAB. Young people mainly choose for earplugs with special filters for concerts and parties. “We sell these products twice as much compared to the same period in 2019, just before corona,” says Alpine sales manager Dirk van der Hoeven.

In addition to manufacturers, hearing care professionals have also seen sales increase in recent months, NVAB reports. At Schoonenberg they have seen a growth of 64 percent in the last six months. Industry peer ‘Beter Horen’ sees a similar picture and saw sales increase even further in January. According to director Havermans, the latter is very remarkable, because January is not the month of the festival season and sales are traditionally lower.

We see many people who would like customization for carnival. Even whole families come

In the south of the country, sales are even one and a half times higher. This probably has to do with carnival, which starts in two weeks, ‘Schoonenberg’ thinks. They also walk down the door at the store Sounds Good, says founder David Winters. “We see many people who would like tailor-made solutions for carnival. Even whole families are coming. This is certainly due to the large amount of media attention.”

Particularly in Brabant and Limburg hearings, the caps can not be dragged on, according to a tour of Omroep Brabant. “We see that more people are having earplugs fitted at the same time. Then they really come as a group of friends,” said one of the shopkeepers. According to the Association of Event Producers (VVEM), sales will only increase. which will be followed up on a larger scale this year,” says a spokesperson.

too often it still goes wrong

For clinical audiologist Dyon Scheijen, who specializes in tinnitus, the increased demand comes as no surprise. “It is in line with all the attention of the past few months. I know so many people who approach me on this subject.” With carnival coming up, Scheijen hopes that sales will increase even further. “This party still goes wrong too often. Those small halls will soon simply go ‘tough’ over the limit of 103 decibels. My brother was recently at a reception with his family. 105 decibels in the back of the room! Luckily they brought earplugs. He was really happy about that.”

ENT doctor Dennis Kox has a suspicion where the enthusiasm suddenly comes from. “I think it’s on the one hand because of all the attention and on the other hand because people haven’t been used to the sound for a while due to covid.” The increased awareness is excellent news, he says: “Treating any disease starts with prevention. Prevention is still better than cure.”

Conversation with minister

Music venues and event makers came together last week for a consultation with State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Public Health). The topic of discussion was whether or not to lower the number of decibels at parties, which the Health Council advocates. “It was a meaningful and good conversation,” the interlocutors say. At the end of March, Van Ooijen will talk to ‘Stichting Hoormij’ and top composer Stephen Emmer, who previously said he suffers from tinnitus. They are in favor of lowering noise levels. Presumably Van Ooijen makes a decision the following month.

Van Ooijen is very pleased with the increasing popularity of earplugs. “How good that carnival celebrations are already preparing and doing their best to properly protect their hearing! Even if the music does not exceed 100 dB, partying for your ears is only safe with earplugs,” he reports on Twitter.

Research into earplugs and complaints after the festival (2018)

Half of the Dutch people sometimes have hearing complaints after visiting a festival or concert, according to research that market research agency The Choice carried out in 2018 on behalf of Alpine Hearing Protection. ENT doctor Jan van der Borden already called the number of young people with hearing damage ‘appalling’.

Of the millions of festival and concert visitors in the Netherlands, 57 percent sometimes suffer from hearing problems, of which 22 percent regularly or always. According to 92 percent, the best way to prevent hearing damage is to wear hearing protection, but nevertheless 60 percent never use earplugs during a concert or festival. That loud music can cause hearing damage is known to 95 percent of the respondents, yet 1 in 5 assumes that the music volume at festivals and concerts is usually not high enough to cause damage.

The research showed that there are misconceptions about hearing protection. For example, it is thought that the wearing comfort of earplugs is insufficient (35 percent) and respondents indicate that they are afraid that they will not be able to have conversations with earplugs (20 percent) and that they will no longer be able to enjoy the music (19 percent).

Sjoerd Groot, international marketing manager at Alpine Hearing Protection, was not surprised at the time at the misconceptions. “With old-fashioned foam earplugs you will indeed experience little pleasure at a concert or festival, but with earplugs with a music filter this is a completely different story. With this you are well protected, the music quality is guaranteed and conversations are perfectly audible.”

[Source: Sebastiaan Quekel – AD]