Pubs and Clubs

What do you need to know?

  • People who work or perform in pubs or clubs where amplified music is played are likely to experience high noise levels
  • Regular exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing damage
  • Employers and employees working in pubs and clubs have responsibilities to protect the hearing of all employees. This includes bar staff, performers and crew, including guest performers
  • Where it is reasonably practicable good acoustic design of the premises needs to be incorporated at the earliest possible time to minimise exposure to unnecessary noise and is usually cost-effective

Things you need to think about include:

Design and layout of the premises: Simple changes can help to overcome inadequate acoustic design and minimise unnecessary exposure to employees

Volume: Controls are often turned up too high, for example because the sound equipment is distorting the music

Length of exposure: The duration of the person's exposure to noise is as important as the noise level

Type of performance: Different acts using different equipment will create different noise levels

Example: Disc Jockey suffers tinnitus

A 24-year-old DJ related that one night, after working in a club where the sound system was particularly loud, he went home with a ringing sensation that was so bad it took several days for his ears to recover. The ringing in one ear (tinnitus) has never completely stopped. He has become very sensitive to loud music, particularly high frequencies, and his tinnitus increases dramatically if exposed to loud noise. He is now careful always to wear earplugs when DJ-ing.