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What dB level can you be exposed to in a Nightclub and how dangerous is it for your hearing?

DanielT

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Worth thinking about, I think. What do you think?
Screenshot_2023-02-28_104853.jpg

"Method
The CEL-620B was checked for calibration using the calibrator supplied in the kit. The sound level meter was then hid in the handbag and the microphone was left protruding. Once in the nightclub the “start” button was pushed which starts a recording run which stores all of the required data. The sound level meter was left to record sound levels for approximately 15 minutes before we stopped recording and left the nightclub.

The results were then downloaded and reports were run using the insight software. The information we were most interested in was the LAeq (which is the average sound level), the LAFmax (highest reading under A weighting in Fast mode), LCPeak (absolute highest sound pressure with time weighting) and the projected 8 hour dose (what we’d be exposed to if we stated there for 8 hours). We also ran octave analysis to see which frequency bands had the highest levels."
Screenshot_2023-02-28_105041.jpg

"Discussion
The results from our 15 minute test show that the average sound level we were exposed to in the night club was 106dB, and the projected dose for 8hours exposure was 106dB. This is well above the exposure standard for noise of 85dB, which is set at that level because above it an unacceptable risk of hearing loss occurs. At these levels, without hearing protection, the daily noise exposure limit would be reached in approximately 3 minutes and 50 seconds. So, at these levels, within 4 minutes you would be damaging your hearing.

The LCpeak reading attained during the test was 130.8dB. The National Standard for Occupational noise requires that the loudest LCpeak you can be exposed to is 140dB. This means that the readings we took were not above the recommended limit for peak sound pressure level, however it was still very high. Octave analysis of the noise data shows that the loudest sounds were between the 125Hz to 4Khz range, and it peaks around the 500Hz range. It’s in this frequency range that you would find electric guitars, piano, vocals, and some drums and bass, which probably explains why the sound level peaks in this frequency range.

In conclusion, if you’re heading out for a night on the town, take some hearing protection or consider sticking to a quieter pub or bar."

 

charleski

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Orchestral music doesn't produce such extreme levels, but still constitutes a danger to the players (and it's now well established that some orchestral players can suffer significant hearing loss).
Though another set of studies showed no evidence of levels that might induce hearing damage, suggesting that the particular acoustic environment might play a role as well:
 
OP
DanielT

DanielT

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You should think about protecting your hearing. Everyone knows that(I assume) in and of itself, but it's still easy to forget it (to protect ears i.e). The knowledge and evidence about what can cause hearing loss has become increasingly well known.

As for loud music at the disco, it's not something I need to worry about anymore. I can't even remember the last time I went out to a disco. Concerts, on the other hand, can happen that I go to, plus all possible other loud noises that I am exposed to. Old roaring two-stroke outboard motors, various power tools, lawnmowers and so on.
 

Andretti60

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Well, just 15 minutes during one night and in only one nightclub does not make much statistics, even though the results are interesting.
Personally, I have been always taken with me earplugs when attending concerts and going to a music avenue (unless I know it is a quiet one)
 

Andysu

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i wouldn't go near one ever , to no day now lousy music . may as well stay at home play same at levels better or comfortable no sense paying , same applies to digital cinemas no sense , deafening dB levels at atmos atmos cinemas may as well stay at home its far cheaper
 
OP
DanielT

DanielT

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i wouldn't go near one ever , to no day now lousy music . may as well stay at home play same at levels better or comfortable no sense paying , same applies to digital cinemas no sense , deafening dB levels at atmos atmos cinemas may as well stay at home its far cheaper
No noise, no risk, no fun.
If you take it to the extreme. There should be a middle ground where you can socialize with people without risking your hearing. The local pub around the corner does not normally have such a high volume, for example.

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Takes everything you've got
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You wanna be where you can see (ah-ah)
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Digby

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What about scumbags in cars/on motorbikes with modified exhausts? highly illegal here, and damaging to hearing, but police here couldn't give a monkey's.
 

Peterinvan

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I am (belatedly) trying to protect my ears after years of abuse, to retain what I have left. I use these attenuating earplugs when I go to a cinema:

Etymotic Research ER20 High-Fidelity Earplugs​

 

MRC01

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Orchestral music doesn't produce such extreme levels, but still constitutes a danger to the players (and it's now well established that some orchestral players can suffer significant hearing loss).
...
Though another set of studies showed no evidence of levels that might induce hearing damage, suggesting that the particular acoustic environment might play a role as well: ...
Professional classical music musicians do get noise related hearing loss. Even acoustic instruments can generate SPLs over 100 dB at the player's ear while playing. That's solo - no orchestra needed. And most of them practice hours daily.
Here's a reference for violin, but other instruments (flute, trumpet) are also affected. https://dynamics.org/Altenberg/MED/VIOLIN/
I wear custom mold musician's earplugs when playing my flute, and in other noisy environments. My SPL meter can hit 108 dB SPL at my ear when playing piccolo.

Nightclubs are even louder and more harmful to hearing. The info in the article posted by the OP has been well known for many years.
 

pablolie

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Orchestral music doesn't produce such extreme levels, but still constitutes a danger to the players (and it's now well established that some orchestral players can suffer significant hearing loss).
Though another set of studies showed no evidence of levels that might induce hearing damage, suggesting that the particular acoustic environment might play a role as well:

Yeah, I'd hate to sit there wedged 3ft away from the percussion section (timpani etc) or some of the brass instruments, especially during tripple forte passages... :)
 

JayGilb

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Yeah, I'd hate to sit there wedged 3ft away from the percussion section (timpani etc) or some of the brass instruments, especially during tripple forte passages... :)
Or the countless times I watched some inebriated patron stand with their ears pressed against a massive PA stack in a club.
 

MRC01

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Yeah, I'd hate to sit there wedged 3ft away from the percussion section (timpani etc) or some of the brass instruments, especially during tripple forte passages... :)
I resemble that! The reason I first got the musicians earplugs (decades ago) was when I started playing in a community band, sitting or standing right in front of the trumpets. A trumpet can produce 120 dB SPL measured within a few feet of its bell. And it's in mid-treble frequencies where our hearing is most sensitive. :eek:
 

Adi777

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I don't go to concerts or clubs, I always listened to music quite quietly - plus or minus 60 - 65 dB, and I got tinnicus, and I have a loss of about 20 dB in both ears around 4000 kHz. I am 31 years old. It's called justice...
PS I have probably stupid question.
If I were to buy some kind of hearing aid or implant, would it help in any way with these frequencies - 3000 - 6000 kHz, when listening to music?
 

V17

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It really depends on what clubs you go to. I used to play drums in metal bands, went to many raves and now play in a jazz band. Out of those three jazz concerts are the only ones I go to without earplugs, and metal shows were subjectively the loudest by far, couldn't do it without sticking something into my ears.

When I organized a small outdoor rave I took a loudness meter with me (a cheap one, not officially calibrated, but still an actual meter and not a phone with a meter app or something like that) and measured a few dB below 100 about 3 meters from the speakers on average, with occasional peaks hitting 110 dB. Subjectively, this was about the volume that most small clubs operate at. Metal concerts were always at least twice as loud, whether in small clubs or large ones. However they usually don't last as long as raves.

I use etymotic er-20 musician's earplugs and recommend them or something similar to everyone because at least for me they often subjectively increase the sound quality as my ears are less overwhelmed. The two issues they have are that they don't attenuate bass as much, so some concerts sound too bassy, and that you need to keep your ears really clean, otherwise the tiny hole in them gets easily plugged with a small bit of earwax and you lose treble.
 
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PS: it's not just music. It's power tools, motorcycles, traffic noise, loud restaurants and bars, etc. Sounds at potentially hearing damaging levels are all around us in both urban and rural environments.
I dipped into the food court at a local mall recently. The next thing I was shocked at after how little food I got for the money was how loud the food court was. My Apple Watch confirmed my feelings. The music was being played at an average of 75 dB with peaks at 80 dB. I typically run my desktop speakers at 65 dB for casual listening!

One of the great things about my Apple Watch is that I have a decibel meter on my wrist that's within 2 dB of a calibrated noise meter. I even have the noise meter set up as a complication so that all I have to do to check the noise level is flick my wrist.

You can keep a pair of musician's earplugs on your key chain, like the Etymotic ER20XS, Loop or Eargasm earplugs if you're regularly going to loud places or have hearing sensitivity issues. Musician's earplugs will allow you to evenly reduce frequencies so that you can still talk to your friends for example while protecting your hearing. I've been using the Etymotics for ages, and I have a pair of ACS Pro 17 earplugs on order for even more accurate reproduction when I go to concerts.
 
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