January 21, 2013:

Nightclubs can damage your hearing 

Nightclubs are a main source of high-risk leisure noise that can cause hearing loss

The many activities available to young adults today are often loud and noisy. In nightclubs, the average noise levels are some of the highest within leisure activities and there is a risk of hearing damage.

Studies from Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland show that the daily noise levels in nightclubs can range from 89dB to 97dB. The study shows that the noise levels rise hourly, which doubles the sound pressure level.

A daily noise exposure of 92dB is equivalent to listening to a smoke alarm continuously for more than 32 hours.

Club managers are therefore advised to reduce noise levels, display warnings and provide earplugs for patrons and employees to reduce the risk of hearing loss.

Young adults are exposed

An Australian study also determined that nightclubs were the main source of high-risk leisure noise.

The study of 1,000 young adults aged 18 to 35 shows that 131 of the participants (14.1%) are exposed to annual noise levels that are higher than the acceptable workplace limit. The young adults exposed to a greater level of leisure-noise also experienced a greater level of tinnitus.

Exposure to noise in excess of 85dB over an 8 hour period per day can lead to a permanent hearing loss over a number of years of exposure.

Young adults who are most at risk should therefore be provided with practical advice about leisure-noise levels and how they can avoid hearing loss.

Requirements from European Union

Work safety laws in the European Union require hearing protection to workers exposed to more than 85dB.

Club managers therefore need to be aware of the noise exposure regulations and comply with the legislation.

Sources: www.ncbi.nih.gov , www.news-medical.net and www.ivillage.com