The use of earplugs in loud music venues is confined to a small minority who wish to avoid hearing damage from excessive noise exposure. Using the framework of the health belief model (HBM), structured interviews were held with 20 earplug-wearing clubbers. Qualitative analysis revealed the HBM constructs relevant to understanding this group's motivation to protect their hearing. Personal experience of noise injury symptoms was the most common cue triggering earplug use. Awareness of the benefits of earplugs and appreciation of the long-term implications of hearing damage, affinity for music and high self-efficacy were also key variables underlying this health behaviour.