When does music produce noise-like effect?

November 17th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 17 (IANS) “Music is always noise-related and often not appreciated,” German poet and humorist Wilhelm Busch noted wryly.Busch’s sarcastic saying embodies a bitter truth: Orchestra musicians jeopardise their ears with their own music. For instance, in a Wagner opera, sound values of 120 decibels (dB) and higher can be attained.

Even the average sound level, depending on the repertoire and instrument, often takes on a magnitude that is considered hazardous to health.

Nevertheless, the EU Noise Directive, also in effect for German orchestras since Feb 15, has been implemented too rarely in practice; there is a lack of effective noise-protection measures.

Therefore, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has developed a noise protection shield. It can in the critical range above 250 Hertz lower the sound level at the ear of the musician by up to 20 dB, according to a PTB release.

The noise protection shield can be reconstructed with little time and effort. In early testing, this has already been accomplished, with extremely positive feedback.

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