Music only needs to be amplified to a maximum of 100 decibels during concerts and parties. The Health Council advises this on Wednesday to the cabinet, which is concerned about the increasing hearing damage in our country. The recommended limit is 3 decibels less than has now been agreed.
The Health Council believes that it will not be possible to prevent hearing damage if music venues, among other things, decide for themselves how loud the music is. That is why the cabinet should also think about legislation, the advisory body believes.
The Health Council has laid down the limit in the Covenant for the Prevention of Hearing Damage Amplified Music, to which organizers of events and music venues, among others, are affiliated. The current agreement expires next year. The Council proposes involving more parties in the covenant.
Hearing loud noises frequently or for prolonged periods can lead to hearing damage. This can happen, for example, at concerts and via your own equipment such as earplugs. Dutch research shows that about 54 percent of twelve to eighteen-year-olds are currently at risk.
By reducing music by 3 decibels, the pressure on the hearing organ is considerably reduced. In that case, people can tolerate pressure on the hearing for longer without too much risk of damage. In the meantime, they can still enjoy the music with 3 decibels less.
According to a manufacturer of hearing protection, the noise level of 100 decibels is comparable to the sound of a fighter jet at a height of 300 meters. At 105 decibels, the noise level is comparable to a helicopter up close.
Music venues doubt the usefulness of lower noise levels
The Association of Dutch Poppodia and Festivals (VNPF) doubts whether the social problem of increasing hearing damage can be solved by lowering the noise level in that sector. This is what director Berend Schans says in response to the advice of the Health Council.
He points out that children also suffer from hearing damage. “The hearing damage that is diagnosed in eight and nine-year-olds is not because of us.” The VNPF director prefers a broader approach to the problem. For example through campaigns, such as those against mobile phone calls behind the wheel or against drinking alcohol by minors.
Schans adds that even a lower noise level is not without risk. “There could be a kind of atmosphere where visitors think: it’s safe now, so I don’t need hearing protection. As a result, they are still at risk.”
Measure offers no guarantee against hearing damage
The proposed measure does not offer a full guarantee against hearing damage. But every measure that contributes to reducing pressure on the hearing can reduce the risk of permanent hearing damage, says the Health Council.
The Council also wants to prevent the risk of damage to hearing by encouraging hearing protection. Knowledge Center SafetyNL agrees. “Where possible, this advice should certainly be followed, but this possible reduction alone is insufficient. Earplugs or other ways to protect the ears must reduce the noise by at least 12 decibels,” says the knowledge center.
According to the advisory body, more information should also be provided about the consequences of too much noise for hearing. “Hearing damage is irreversible and untreatable and therefore has a major impact on people’s quality of life.”
Kwart tot helft van jongeren wereldwijd loopt risico op gehoorverlies