Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Symphony Musicians Turn Down to Protect Hearing

With apologies to Pete Townshend, this story about loud symphonic music appears in the New York Times. An exerpt:

"Rock musicians have talked openly about loud music and ear protection for years. The issue is more delicate for classical musicians, who have been reluctant to accept that their profession can lead to hearing loss, even though studies have shown that to be the case."
Apparently new noise laws in Europe which limit workers’ exposure to potentially damaging noise and which took effect for the entertainment industry this month.
"Tests showed that the average noise level in the orchestra during the piece, “State of Siege,” by the composer Dror Feiler, was 97.4 decibels, just below the level of a pneumatic drill and a violation of new European noise-at-work limits. Playing more softly or wearing noise-muffling headphones were rejected as unworkable."
The laws also place a kilt over the bagpipes in Scotland:
"Typically, a pipe band played at full volume peaks at 122 decibels outdoors, noisier than the sound of either a nightclub or a chainsaw, which rises to 116 decibels."
Check that story here.

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