Preventie van gehoorschade door versterkte muziek
Image: ©Yvette de Wit

Hearing loss due to amplified music

Frequent or extended exposure to loud noise, caused for instance by visiting concerts or the use of personal music players, can lead to hearing loss. Hearing loss from noise is irreversible and untreatable and has a major impact on people’s quality of life. In the Covenant for prevention of hearing loss due to amplified music the government sets out measures for preventing hearing loss due to exposure in the private sphere. The current (third) covenant ends in 2023. The State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport has asked the Health Council of the Netherlands for advice on follow-up policy.

According to the Health Council, scientific insights into the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss indicate that every measure that helps to reduce cumulative exposure to loud amplified music leads to a lower risk of hearing loss. Hence the Council recommends that the maximum noise level be reduced from 103 dB(A) to 100 dB(A); this will be in line with neighbouring countries and the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), and it also takes the importance of musical experience into account. Encouraging the use of hearing protection should also be given priority in the opinion of the Health Council. The WHO recommends use of hearing protection when noise levels reach 100 dB(A), especially in the case of frequent exposure. In addition, the Council recommends continuation of the other measures in the covenant, such as monitoring noise levels and provision of information on this issue.