At music events noise levels are usually higher than 80 dB. Which is why it makes sense to wear earplugs with a music filter. The longer you are exposed to amplified music, the more likely you are to damage your hearing. Wearing earplugs means you can still hear the music properly, you can communicate with your friends more easily, you are less tired afterwards and you also protect your hearing.
Find a quieter place to give your ears a break occasionally. By doing so, your ears – and you – can relax a little and stay in shape for longer to make the most of your evening from start to finish.
Explanation of the tips from the Pinkpop festival location
How long can I safely listen to loud music?
How damaging noise is depends on how often and how long you listen to it. An example: noise at 80 decibels is ‘safe’ for your ears for 8 hours per day (or 40 hours per week). As a result, 83 decibels are only safe for 4 hours a day (or 20 hours a week). And 86 decibels only 2 hours a day (or 10 hours a week).
Noise at 103 decibels can damage your hearing in less than 5 minutes. Unless of course you take the right precautions.
When do we consider hearing to be damaged?
Do you ever hear a peep in your ear after having been out? This means that a small part of your hearing is already damaged. How does that work exactly? It is all about the cilia (vibrating hairs) in the inner ear. They are continually processing noise because sounds are constant and everywhere. Loud noises, from 80 decibels, can damage the hearing. The cilia become overloaded by the noise pressure and break off. Cilia also break off if they are exposed to loud noise too often or for too long. Compare it to a field with hundreds of people trampling over it. Eventually the grass also gets damaged.
Damaged cilia pass the wrong signals through to the brain: which is the peep or distortion that you hear! If more and more cilia (hairs) get broken then not enough remain to pass through the sounds, meaning that slowly but surely you will become hard of hearing. Unfortunately, it is not possible to restore the damaged hairs. Hearing a beep or noise continuously is called tinnitus and can have many different causes. Other forms of hearing damage include an over-sensitivity to noise (hyperacusis), noise distortion (distortion) and perceiving sounds differently left and right (diplacusis).
What measures can I take?
During music events, wear earplugs with a music filter. These earplugs will still allow you to enjoy your music and have a conversation at a normal volume without having to shout. Moreover, your hearing is protected. So, invest in good earplugs with a music filter.
Earplugs are on sale at an increasing number of music venues if you forget to bring your own.
In addition, keep your distance from the speakers and give your ears a 15-minute break every 2 hours.
How do I know if my hearing is okay?
Listening to music, watching TV or YouTube videos, gaming, going out, chatting to people: all activities where you use your hearing. But what do you actually know about the status of your hearing? There is a good chance your hearing has not been tested since primary school.
Do a hearing test!
We advise you to test your hearing annually. If the initial indication shows that the hearing is not optimal, it is important to take action. Make an appointment with your GP or an audiologist. Because the longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to ensure you can continue to hear everything.
There are diverse free hearing tests available. In addition to the actual measurements taken, these hearing tests also often offer useful advice and tips to prevent (further) hearing damage as much as possible.
How do I know that the club I am in will adhere to the agreements made?
Since October 2014, music venues that are members of the covenant have been carrying out noise level measurements. These take place during the entire concert. Agreements about noise levels are stipulated in a covenant, namely that the noise is measured continuously (every 15 minutes) and that it does not exceed 103 dB (A) on average.
The results of the readings are recorded and anonymously reported quarterly by SKEN to the trade associations of these music venues, but also to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Also good to know: besides the noise readings, the locations are obliged to offer hearing protection.