Should Venues Impose Sound Limits?

Since Tinnitus Awareness Week just wrapped up a month ago in the UK and is set for May in the US, I felt that I would give a little reflection on a question I was asked the other day.

I feel very strongly about this and want to state, publicly, that I am 100 percent against sound limits. I am against prohibition in general. What I am for is knowledge and education. I just want people to make an informed decision, something I never had when I was growing up. I thought the ringing in my ears was part and parcel of the ‘going out to gigs’ experience. Nobody told me I could permanently damage my brain.

See – that sounds bad doesn’t it? ‘Damage my ears’ doesn’t sound so bad, certainly not bad enough for the government to do anything about it. If the civil servants making these decisions were informed of the facts, that it’s brain damage we’re talking about, then perhaps we’d see less apathy and more action.

Would it not be more intelligent, more caring and responsible to use some of the money allocated to these sorts of public information campaigns for educating people with the truth about tinnitus? That they can permanently damage their brain just by walking into a pub, or a club, or a gig. Surely there must be a plaque, a sign, on display, next to the one that says ‘licensed to sell alcohol’ which reads ‘You can permanently damage your hearing if you do not protect yourself in this venue’. Is that really too much to ask? Wouldn’t a law that makes it the venue’s responsibility to supply earplugs for sale behind the bar make social and economic sense?

Just saying…

What are your thoughts on this?

One Response to “Should Venues Impose Sound Limits?”

  1. krisis Says:

    I too thought the ringing in my ears after a concert was a sign of cool. It wasn’t until I was much older (and in bands of my own) that I realized I likely lost some finer detail of my hearing thanks to frequent teenage concert outings. [I have since been tested.]

    I’m completely agreed with your position here. If people want to go to one ear-damagingly loud show a year or one hundred, then they have that right. However, I do think that (a) all music venues of any size should be required to sell or give away earplugs, and (b) venues licensed for performance should display decibel chart visible by the door and soundboard showing what levels can lead to permanent hearing damage (and maybe showing the range of their typical amplification).

    On our local scene almost every room is mixed too loud. Frequently I can’t even stay inside of a venue to see the acts that play before me unless I remembered ear plugs. Inexperienced guys at mixing desks think loud is great, and then their own hearing is damaged over time so they think louder is better.

    From the other side of the mic, I have to be able to hear myself playing to turn in a good performance, and it’s incredibly hard to sing harmony while wearing earplugs on stage.

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