If you are among those who travel to music festivals around the world every summer you repeatedly subject your hearing to loud noise levels. One of the largest Northern European music festivals is focusing on the hearing health of its audience. A British study indicated that this is a great idea.
Live music in moderation
When young people go to music festivals to have a good time with their friends hearing health is probably far from their minds. But days and of noise from different music performances can be taxing on your hearing.
For several years, the Danish Roskilde Festival has worked to create more acceptable noise levels for the festival audiences. At the 2008 festival, each of the 75,000 members of the audience was issued a free set of earplugs with the admissions bracelet.
In addition, as part of the noise policy, the Roskilde Festival set a maximum noise limit of 103 dB for the two largest stages and 102 dB for the rest. These limits were arrived at in consultation with a sound consultant with the aim to provide the audience the ideal music experience while protecting their hearing health.
The positioning of loudspeakers is important for your concert experience and your hearing. The Roskilde Festival is placing the loudspeakers as high up as possible, so the sound can reach the spectators in the back rows without being unnecessarily loud for those in the front rows.
You may be impatient with the breaks in the music action, but the Roskilde Festival requires that breaks be long enough to give the hearing of the audience appropriate rest between concerts.
The Roskilde Festival focus on the hearing of the audience is a great idea if you consider the findings of a British study. During the summer of 2008, 2,700 people were interviewed at large music festivals at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. Four in five of the respondents said they experienced signs of hearing damage during the festivals.
The people behind the festivals must be aware of the hearing issues in order to take proper care of their audiences. At the same time, you as a festival visitor must take your own steps to protect your hearing. Once real damage is done, it becomes irreversible and permanent.