Amsterdam Dance Event surpassed itself this year. A record number of visitors attended more than 1.000 ADE events spread out over nearly 200 locations. The ADE conference featured around 600 speakers. One of these speakers was our own Alpine colleague Björn Immerzeel. He had the honour of discussing the importance of hearing protection during a 40-minute panel discussion featuring DJs Dave Clarke and Joris Voorn among others. We as supportive colleagues of course had front row seats at the Amsterdam DeLaMar theatre and are reporting to you in this blog post.
Björn Immerzeel, responsible for all Music & Events activities at Alpine Hearing Protection, was part of the panel discussion ‘Say What? How Is Your Hearing Holding Up?, together with DJ and radio presenter Dave Clarke, DJ Joris Voorn and ENT specialist Anne-Marije Prinsen-van Kuijen among others. Kami Tadayon, founder and DJ of the world famous Lost Beach Club, opened the discussion with a well-chosen statement: ”Our product stands for making beautiful memories and having a great time. This should not go hand in hand with hearing damage. That’s why this topic is so very important. I think everyone, from sound technicians to festival organisers, from the DJ to the public, should be aware of the fact that you have to properly protect your hearing during parties and concerts. And what the consequences are if you don’t.”
Anne-Marije Prinsen-van Kuijen is a Dutch ENT specialist. Doctors in the Dutch ENT community believe that prevention is particularly important. That’s why a campaign was recently launched to provide information about hearing damage while going out. During the panel discussion, Anne-Marije shared her vision on hearing damage prevention. According to the ENT specialist, it’s mainly important for everyone to be on the same page. “Music venues, doctors, hearing protection suppliers and the big players in events and hospitality should all sit around the table to make sure the problem can be discussed openly. What are we going to do about the increasing number of young people (6 in 10 festivalgoers, ed.) with hearing damage? I personally am convinced that this problem is comparable to smoking. Smoking was normal not too long ago. In the beginning we didn’t think about the risks. These days it’s almost strange to see someone smoking. The same applies to not wearing hearing protection. At the moment, many people are unaware of the risks of being exposed to loud and damaging noise. Hopefully, in a few years, wearing hearing protection while going out will be perfectly normal. We’ll get there, but we’re not there yet.”
In the Netherlands, we have certain directives regarding the number of decibels in pubs, clubs and music venues. Our colleague Björn addressed these directives during the panel discussion. “The responsibility doesn’t only lie with musicians and event venues. The government especially has an important role when it comes to preventing hearing damage.” According to Joris Voorn, wearing hearing protection is the only real solution. “The problem with dance music is that it’s hard to convey it live at a volume of only 85 dB. You need the ‘unhealthy’ volume to really experience the music. You want to be able to feel the bass. And yes, that’s bad for your hearing. Whichever directives the government poses, whether you can go to 100 dB or 103 db, being unprotected is always bad for your hearing. That’s a fact. That’s why I think the only solution is to buy very good hearing protection. For example, if I go to a concert and I’ve forgotten my earplugs, I just don’t go. You get used to earplugs. At a certain point you don’t want to do without them.”
Finally, there was time for questions from the audience. The audience mainly consisted of music industry professionals. A number of DJs asked the panel about the best way to protect one’s hearing. “How do I know how much attenuation is enough for me?” And: “What type of filter is best for me as a musician?”. As a hearing protection specialist, our colleague Björn was, of course, the appropriate person to answer these questions. “Noise with a volume of 80 decibels is harmful to your hearing if you stay in it for more than eight hourst. Every added three decibels cuts the time you can safely spend in that environment in half. In the Netherlands we’ve made an agreement between the Association of Event Producers (Vereniging van Evenementenmakers) and the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (Vereniging Nederlandse Poppodia en -Festivals), stipulating that the average sound level at music venues may not exceed 103 dB. As a musician or concertgoer, you can make a simple calculation. Make sure you get a pair of earplugs that provides sufficient attenuation to allow you to party safely all night long.” Björn also has a clear recommendation regarding filters. “Professionals and music lovers benefit most from earplugs with linear attenuation filters. These filters attenuate roughly the same number of decibels across all frequencies. This causes minimal distortion of the music. In other words, you hear the music in exactly the same way, but at a lower volume.”
Alpine is the official earplug partner of the Amsterdam Dance Event every year. Hundreds of great parties take place during ADE in the month of October each year. Alpine earplugs provide outstanding protection, but thanks to the acoustic filter, you can still fully enjoy the music and conversations with friends!