The Health Council urgently advises the cabinet to take measures against hearing damage, especially among young people. Where have we heard that before?

    Raoul du PreDecember 4, 202216:53

    1996. Research institute TNO is sounding the alarm. ‘Too loud music from walkmans, in discotheques and at pop concerts annually leads to severe irreversible hearing loss in 25,000 young people.’ The researchers are urging action.

    1999. Minister of Health Borst calls on the catering industry to intervene. The music in discotheques and cafes must be turned down considerably. ’85 to 90 decibels is more than enough,’ said the minister. And the staff must wear earplugs. The sector does not respond enthusiastically: you also have to ‘feel’ music, that is not possible if it is turned down.

    2000. Mojo, organizer of pop concerts, will ‘research’ how hearing damage can be prevented in the public. ‘We are not responsible but still want to do something.’

    2006. The Leiden University Medical Center warns that too little is really happening. ‘People in their fifties now hear just as badly as people in their sixties some twenty years ago.’

    2013. State Secretary Van Rijn of Public Health thinks it is time for preventive measures. He has no concrete plans yet. He first wants to ‘look at the possibilities’ together with the music sector.

    2013. The Hearing Foundation does not want to look at the possibilities at all, but wants to take measures: better information about what too loud noise does to your ears and about the usefulness of earplugs. The foundation also wants a stricter legal standard for the number of decibels in nightlife.

    2014. That stricter standard will not come. Van Rijn has agreed with the event industry and music venues that the maximum noise level will remain at 103 decibels. They do promise to ‘actively point out’ to their visitors the importance of earplugs.

    2015. A quarter of Dutch young people between the ages of 12 and 25 now suffer from hearing loss. This is the conclusion of researchers at the AMC in Amsterdam after analyzing more than 150,000 online hearing tests.

    2022. The pressure is growing. With a new law, festival organizers and operators of clubs and discotheques must be forced to turn back their volume knob, the association of throat, nose and ear doctors advocates.

    September 2022. A large majority in the House of Representatives is also fed up with the non-commitment and wants stricter statutory noise standards in the catering industry and the events sector to be laid down in law.

    November 2022: The Health Council shares this opinion and advises: ‘Reduce the maximum noise level of amplified music from 103 to 100 decibels.’ Although that is still not completely safe with long-term exposure, it will still save a lot of damage.

    December 2022. What is the government actually waiting for?

    The Volkskrant Commentaar expresses the position of the newspaper. It comes about after a discussion between the commentators and the editors-in-chief.

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