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Health Council study: hearing damage from amplified music

Health Council of the Netherlands study hearing damage caused by amplified music at concerts

Hearing damage

Frequent or prolonged exposure to loud noise, such as from attending concerts or using personal music players, can lead to hearing damage. Hearing damage is irreversible and untreatable and has a major impact on people’s quality of life.


In the Covenant to Prevent Hearing Damage to Amplified Music, the Dutch government included measures to prevent hearing damage from exposure in the private sphere. The current (third) covenant expires in 2023. The Secretary of State for Health has asked the Dutch Health Council for advice on follow-up policy.

Noise level max 100 decibels

The science on the occurrence and prevention of hearing damage shows, according to the Health Council, that any measure that helps reduce cumulative exposure to loud amplified music leads to a lower risk of hearing damage. Therefore, the council recommends reducing the maximum noise level from 103 dB(A) to 100 dB(A). This is in line with surrounding countries and World Health Organization (WHO) advice, which also took into account the importance of music perception.

Hearing protection

Encouraging the use of hearing protection is also a priority, according to the Health Council. Use of hearing protection is recommended by WHO at 100 dB(A), especially for frequent exposure. Furthermore, the council recommends that the other measures in the covenant, such as monitoring noise levels and providing education, also be continued.

[Source: Health Council – Photo: Yvette de Wit]