Legislation to Help Prevent Tinnitus (Legal Limits on Volume, Warning Signs, etc.)

Discussion in 'Awareness & Fundraising' started by lightning, Jul 31, 2020.

    1. lightning
      Amused

      lightning Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Severe tinnitus since Dec 30 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      Some background - I may have had some mild tinnitus in the past, but was never really fully aware of it. In December last year, I went to a movie theater and it was horrifically loud. After about 45 minutes, maybe one hour, I went out to my car to get some earplugs, but I didn't know at that point it was already too late. A few days later, I noticed an awful ringing, and it hasn't gone away still. I have a nearly unmaskable hissing, along with a whole bunch of other more typical tinnitus sounds. How could something as mundane as going to a movie end up being a life-changing experience?

      I know there's a lot of focus on fundraising for treatment and therapy, but I think more work needs to be done to stop loud noise exposure in the first place. Why is a theater allowed to have sound so loud that it can permanently damage our hearing? Why are people allowed to be near huge speakers at clubs and theaters? Why are people allowed to create huge amounts of noise with modifications to vehicles?

      At the very least, I believe there needs to be mandated warning signs and ear protection made available at venues like theaters, clubs, stadiums and so on. Warning signs should indicate expected decibel levels and maybe even indicate the consequences of noise exposure (hearing loss, tinnitus, etc) the way tobacco labels indicate they may cause cancer.

      Ideally, there would also be legal limits on volume, particularly in enclosed areas like theaters and clubs. Why was a movie theater going over 100dB? It makes no sense.

      I know this doesn't help us that are already suffering from tinnitus, but prevention is just as important imo.
       
      • Agree Agree x 7
    2. Diesel

      Diesel Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      1-2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      20+ Years of Live Music, Motorcycles, and Power Tools
      As it relates to employees working at places where noise exposure may put them at risk, there is a laundry list of requirements that the employer must comply with; usually on an annual or random basis. There's also enforcement in place in many states in the US aimed to ensure employers continue to protect employees that work in such loud establishments, or where hearing may be put at risk.

      When it comes to protecting the consumer; this is where legislation runs into issues of released liability and potentially the 14th Amendment.

      The more prominent factor is released liability. When a consumer buys a ticket, pays entry, or sometimes even enters a said club, theater, sports arena, live music venue, or movie theater; they release their rights to hold the venue liable for any personal damages. So, they're effectively taking personal responsibility for the harm that they're knowingly exposing themselves to.

      Turning over, revising, or severely altering a liability release as it relates to hearing loss at any of these venues would require substantial evidence, and monitoring of large groups of people over many many years. It would certainly be an issue that would need to go as high as the US Supreme Court, in my opinion, as a change in liability law would have ripple effects into any number of consumer industries.

      What we DO have today that legislation might impact is the on-going effects of headphones/earbuds on hearing. The data seems to be much more significant than it was even 5 years ago. And, device makes may bear some liability for devices being able to be set to unsafe loudness levels when the user is unaware. I believe some EU legislation is or will address volume limits on some electronic devices.
       
    3. WillBeNimble
      Buzzed

      WillBeNimble Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Damage from earphones
      In this me and you agree. There needs to be some legislation on noise levels. I wouldn't force the price of protection on the theaters or venues, but signage would be good, as would a limit they had to adhere to or get a fine.

      I would say a bigger thing is phones and devices. They should be limited similar to the EU, where it's limited to 85dB of output. I would even have it go to lower, with 70dB as most people use earbuds which make it more like 80dB. There should be volume limiters in built into every phone OS, mandated as well. With them, after being given an adequate warning informing you that it WILL result in hearing damage if played at whatever max decibels it can produce with earbuds within however many seconds/minutes, then it would allow you to move above the safe limit.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. WillBeNimble
      Buzzed

      WillBeNimble Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Damage from earphones
      EU legislation already exists for it, and they only enable it on EU devices as far as I know. The US needs to adopt the policy as well to really have teeth behind it.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    5. WillBeNimble
      Buzzed

      WillBeNimble Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Damage from earphones
      Would a reminder before the show be too difficult to get passed? Imagine how much more receptive the crowd would be to protection if they were reminded by the band themselves.
       
    6. Frédéric

      Frédéric Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Advocate

      Location:
      Marseille, France
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/19/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Overview of laws and regulations aimed at protecting the hearing of patrons within entertainment venues

      Background
      Recreational noise—specifically loud music experienced at music venues—has been recognized as a hazard for hearing damage and associated pathologies such as tinnitus. In Europe and other countries around the world, there is a range of regulatory and legislative approaches to managing the sound levels and minimizing the risk of hearing damage for those attending music venues. It is important to have an understanding of these different approaches to inform the development of future regulations and legislation.

      Methods
      In December 2018, an online search of legislative instruments was conducted, and we identified 18 items that were aimed at protecting the hearing of people attending entertainment venues.

      Results
      Twelve documents were from European jurisdictions and the remainder were from cities or states of North and South America. The regulatory measures included in the documents ranged from sound level limitations, real-time sound exposure monitoring, mandatory supply of protective devices, requirements for signage and warnings, loudspeaker placement restrictions and the provision of ‘quiet spaces’.

      Conclusions
      European countries are well advanced in terms of providing legislation and other regulatory documents aimed at protecting people at entertainment venues when compared with the rest of the world. Future research is required to assess the effectiveness of these regulatory measures in reducing the risk associated with sound exposure at music venues.

      Source: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa149/5917780
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. Nobody19

      Nobody19 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Clubbing
      Flanders (a region of Belgium) has pretty strict decibel limits. But I'm not sure they are being actively enforced.
       
    8. frpp

      frpp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Tmj, Nihl, ototoxic drugs, nerve/ vascular issues
      Simple solution:

      Relentlessly extremely high fines with zero tolerance that scale like speeding.

      1 dB over 80 dB $10,000.

      10 dB over $150,000 fine etc.

      Classify it as reckless debt so you have to pay it even after bankruptcy and assets seized until the debt is paid. Incentives paid to people for turning in companies/venues/device manufacturers.

      I'd bet money after one fine on the block that excess noise would stop fast.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    9. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      You are well-intentioned here, and I agree with you in terms of where your head is at, but what you proposed above would be unworkable. A threshold of 1 dBA is too narrow. If you use two different measuring devices, you could easily get results that are +- 3 dB. Also, it depends on how quickly you set the measurement window as this can add a lot to the peaks. You could easily record peaks over 100 dBA in a room that’s 75 dBA, for example. Then you have to discuss what frequencies will be the primary offending ones, as the spectrum for measurement is pretty broad in this regard as well.

      In short, there would be no businesses left, as fines that large ($150,000) would close every venue down. What you’d be asking for in doing this is to close down all entertainment venues, and this includes theatres, cinemas, clubs, bars, pubs, restaurants... Everything. 80 dBA is much too low of a threshold and I’ll explain why. In a large restaurant, the sound of human voices talking can easily reach this level which would mean some restaurants would have to close down as you cannot reasonably expect them to be able to control people’s voices. Street noise can be louder than 80 dBA. You would also have to change the laws surrounding occupational health as many of those start at 85 dBA with a permissible 8-hour timeframe. What happens if a health and safety officer drops by a bar one day on an occasion where a man shouts and peaks the meter at 90 dBA when the ambient sound up to that point was around 75 dBA?

      If fines were going to be given out, then the laws around the punishment would have to be watertight, and you cannot reasonably expect that at 80 dBA. You would also have to think out the parameters of what’s considered an offense, like how long does the sound have to breach the limit? And at what frequencies and time-weighted measurements? And where are you measuring within the venue?
       
      • Like Like x 3
    10. Shizune
      Wishful

      Shizune Member

      Location:
      The bell tower
      Tinnitus Since:
      H: 6/2020 T: 7/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chemical exposure, made worse with benzo withdrawal(??)
      Length of exposure definitely matters too. I know with certain video games, there's a check in every few hours or so encouraging you to take a break. I think that, as annoying as it may be for some, having that same kind of check in for devices may limit the duration. Even if it is ignored, just having it there as a reminder.
       
    11. Lucifer

      Lucifer Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Clown World
      Tinnitus Since:
      -
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      -
      At events such as concerts and clubbing the maximum decibel limit should be 85 dB. If it’s 86-95 dB say for more than 5-10 seconds then should be instant fine and warning. If it’s 96 dB and greater for more than a second then the fine should be massive fine and revoke their privileges.

      How many people have to get tinnitus and hyperacusis from these events for it to be taken seriously.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Again, I agree with the premise, but restricting concerts to 85 dBA would be a logistical nightmare. Enforcing a fine would also take a lot of doing at this level considering how difficult it would be to accurately measure the sound and at a consistent threshold across the entire venue. Music is full of dynamics that has peaks and troughs, and this would be a problem. It would also be an engineering nightmare to arrange the speakers, for a large hall, so that everyone would get approximately the same level of sound so that the music could be heard properly. If the front of house speakers were only putting out 85 dBA the middle and back of the room wouldn’t hear anything, quite literally. In fact, the noise of the people within the venue would rival the volume at which the music would be at, making it difficult to discern what’s being played.

      I’m not against the idea of keeping noise levels down; in this regard I’m totally on your side, but having worked in this industry, I know how impractical these ideas would be in the real world. It just wouldn’t happen.

      I think the rules would have to be based on the size and acoustic properties of the venue. I also think as well as limiting noise levels, ear plugs should be handed out as mandatory. There should also be proper warnings about standing close to the speakers. Ultimately, people need to be educated about the dangers of sound.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. david c

      david c Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2012
      Completely agree with you @Lucifer. One of the lessons of COVID-19 is that venues - clubs, bars, restaurants - may complain about new health and safety rules but if that is the only way they can stay in business they'll make sure they comply. And the COVID-19 health and safety restrictions are much more wide-ranging and restrictive than noise level rules would be.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Limiting noise in clubs would be fairly straightforward and easy to implement. With the way things are going with Covid, however, I don’t think there will be any clubs left to worry about.
       
    15. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      Really 'limiting noise'? I kid, but the more the merrier?
       
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