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Health council wants softer sound in concert halls

health council advice lower maximum noise level in concert halls and clubs

Lower maximum noise level to 100 decibels.

The Health Council wants the maximum sound level for music in concert halls and clubs, among other places, to be lowered. In a recommendation to the Cabinet, the council advocates lowering the maximum noise level from 103 to 100 decibels. This is in line with a World Health Organization (WHO) guideline.


The council comes up with the opinion at the request of the Cabinet because a package of agreements with concert halls, among others, is set to expire in December next year. It is currently agreed that the maximum noise level is 103 decibels. By the way, use of hearing protection is also recommended by the WHO at 100 decibels, especially if people hear noise at this level often.

The Health Council wants the measures to apply not only to events and concerts, but also to cafes and gyms, for example.


It is important to note that 100 decibels is not twice as loud as 50 decibels. A difference of 3 decibels seems negligible, but in practice it is not. Such an increase amounts to a doubling of the noise level. For example, if you listen to not one drum but two, that’s an increase of 3 decibels. So any lowering of the noise standard means that music in clubs, for example, will immediately become a lot softer all at once.


Research shows that more than half of 12- to 18-year-olds are at risk of hearing damage. People contract hearing damage from loud music in concert halls, for example, but also from listening to music loudly through headphones or earbuds. Hearing damage is almost always untreatable and negatively impacts people’s lives.

Back in September, the Ear-Nose-Orthalmology Association advocated lowering the volume in the hospitality industry. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of the population suffers from tinnitus, a form of hearing loss in which people hear a sound that is not there.


The Health Council also advocates continuing existing preventive measures, such as encouraging the use of hearing protection and providing education. Furthermore, the council recommends that the other measures in the covenant, such as monitoring noise levels and providing education, also be continued.

It is still unclear whether and which parts of the opinion will be adopted. The Lower House is already discussing possible interim measures to prevent hearing damage on Dec. 8, as previously reported to the House by State Secretary Van Ooijen (VWS) .

[Source: NOS / Photo: ANP]