The dangers of loud music at rock concerts are highlighted, once again, in a slightly unusual court case, which saw an US couple persist for over seven years to obtain compensation for a long term hearing damage claim from the heavy metal band, Whitesnake.
The case for noise induced hearing loss refers to a 2003 Whitesnake concert at a Boston Theatre, where the Claimants had been redirected by the venue staff to new seats closer to the stage – and subsequently, closer to one of the built up columns of PA speakers – because a piece of staging equipment blocked their view from their original seats.
The court heard a statement read out from a hearing loss expert who claimed the speakers “had the potential to blast music at a volume anywhere from 2 to 22 times what is considered ‘acceptable exposure’ to the human ear.”
According to Noise Regulations, the levels of noise exposure which must not be exceeded, called exposure limit values, are 87 dB or a peak sound pressure of 140 dB.
As a result, the couple claimed that they had been left with long-term hearing loss from attending the concert and the band have now reached a $40,000 (£25,640) settlement in compensation.
It has been speculated as to why the couple did not remove themselves from the seating once it was obvious to them that a possible hearing injury might occur. However, the possibility of further cases to issue forth from future extremely loud heavy metal concerts may indeed occur again as a very real hearing damage risk does exist. Venue organisers and staff should take note!