The acoustic standards to be respected in relation with noise emitted during events, especially musical, will be tougher as of this coming 21 February. From then on, the new legislation will authorize a maximum level of amplified sound at 85 decibels. Two exceptions are envisaged, allowing volumes of 95 and 100 dB, which is the maximum authorized by the World Organization of Health (WHO), stated Monday the Brussels Minister of Environment and Quality of Life, Céline Fremault, in a press release.
The implementation of new noise standards came to the Brussels Government as a real public health issue. According to Minister Fremault, nearly 90% of young adults aged 18 to 25 have experienced at least once a passing tinnitus after being exposed to unexpected noise. Furthermore, 15% of them have permanent tinnitus, which is a sign of irreversible injuries.
The new Brussels Government Decree stipulates that the higher the volume is, the stricter the conditions to protect the public must be. In any case, the sound level standard must remain imperatively inferior to 100 dB, the level above which there are real risks of a loss of hearing.
Practically, when the volume reaches more than 95 dB, hearing protectors and hearing rest zones that are not above 85 dB, must be provided. Above 85 dB, a display (Happy Ears pictograms) of the sound level in real time must make the public more conscious of, and responsible for its exposure to the noise.
Besides, the operators will have to record the highest sound levels and keep a chronological register of these recordings in order to deal with possible complaints. As for the establishments that diffuse music after midnight, they will have to obtain from their town administration a Class 3 environmental permit.
Controls will be organized in order to guarantee that this new legislation is respected, warns the Minister.