Nightclubs can damage hearing-study

by Deborah Condon

People who frequent nightclubs and music bars are at an increased risk of suffering hearing damage, due to the dangerously excessive noise levels in many establishments, a study carried out by the Western Health Board (WHB) has found.

The study found that 86% of nightclubs and 71% of music bars exceeded the 110 decibel maximum noise level, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

To avoid acute hearing impairment, the WHO recommends that the maximum noise level should always be below 110 decibels. Exposure to an average of 105 decibels for more than four minutes and 43 seconds a day without ear protection is a serious risk to hearing, it adds.

The noise assessment study was undertaken by the WHB in order to determine the health effects of hazardous noise exposure, which is becoming an increasingly serious public health problem.

Eighteen nightclubs and 13 music bars throughout Galway, Mayo and Roscommon were examined. The establishments targeted were those where the largest number of young people gather.

"Business proprietors and the music providers need to immediately take an active role in the control of excessive noise levels in their premises", the WHB said.

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