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Make earplugs mandatory at all music events, experts say

The organisers of music events indicate that they are insufficiently informed about the noise standards. Credit: Pexels

Experts call 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.

The figures are 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, reports VRT NWS. “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.

“We surveyed 250 people between 15 and 20 years old, and four out of five do not regard noise as problematic,” said Vinck, reports Het Nieuwsblad. “They do not think hearing protection is important, adding that earplugs are not cool. More than 90% of these young people do not wear them, yet more than 65% of them say they have experienced tinnitus after exposure to loud music. For 5%, it even becomes chronic,” he said, adding that earplugs should be made mandatory at all music events where noise levels exceed 85 decibels.

The organisers of music events indicate that they are insufficiently informed about the noise standards and how to deal with them. “They are certainly willing to apply the law, but only 4% says they are sufficiently informed,” said Vinck. “The vast majority says that they received (almost) no information on how to safely expose people to noise,” he added.

“Many cities and municipalities do not have a place organisers can go to for information, or where they can borrow equipment with which they can check whether the music is too loud,” said Vinck.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times