‘Mandatory earplugs are not a solution’ to tackle noise pollution at music events
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    ‘Mandatory earplugs are not a solution’ to tackle noise pollution at music events

    It's not a good idea to make someone who occasionally goes to a party buy custom-made earplugs. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

    Calls to make earplugs mandatory at all music events have faced criticism from industry expert, Jeroen Vereecke, who questions the real impact of such a measure.

    Vereecke takes issue with a call by experts to make earplugs mandatory at all music events after new research showed that almost 75% of events do not comply with the noise standards, according to the University of Ghent and the Christian Mutuality.

    “I do not think that we can generalise the figures based on this research for the whole of Flanders. It is too simplistic to say that three-quarters of all events in Flanders do not comply with the noise standards”, Vereecke – a concert organiser and sound expert – explained to De wereld vandaag.

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    The research is based on a sample of almost 40 parties, small festivals, concerts and other music events in the East Flanders province. At these weekly or monthly music events for young people, several partygoers were given special noise meters to gather data with. In theory, noise levels at such events are not allowed to exceed 95 decibels (except for an exceptional increase to 100 decibels), but the research showed they often did.

    “The samples show that the noise levels are very high,” said Professor Bart Vinck, who conducted the research. “And they increase the later into the night it gets. I suspect that the DJs themselves are beginning to hear less as well, meaning they start playing their music even louder,” he added.

    Not a solution

    “Making earplugs compulsory is not a solution,” said Vereecke, who participated in the implementation of the noise standards in Flanders.

    “I see no reason to make this [earplugs] compulsory everywhere. Moreover, the quality of free earplugs is different. If disposable earplugs do not fit properly, protection is minimal and wearing them can create a false sense of security. It’s not a good idea to make someone who occasionally goes to a party buy custom-made earplugs,” said Vereecke.

    “It’s actually like alcohol or other things that can be harmful to our health. Some people can handle it better than others. It’s not like going to a party is going to kill you,” he added.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times