Wednesday, May 16, 2007


(Hat tip: Mommy) This is great. A woman in New Hampshire didn't like that her kids' iPods were so loud, and was concerned that their hearing would suffer permanent damage. So...
Christine came up with another idea: these earbuds, which replace the earbuds on the iPod or any other music source. They limit the volume to 80 decibels, or 85 if bass or treble boost is turned on. For comparison, a standard iPod goes up to 120 decibels; the European version is limited, by law, to 100.
Read the whole article, it's really fascinating. As an aside, though, the danger of high volumes is so often ignored, particularly at frum celebrations. Bands play at deafening - literally - levels, and there have already been a couple of cases where babies lost their hearing. The answer is not "bring earplugs" (though we do for Elianna, and you should for your kids), it's telling bands to turn it down - or you won't pay them. I've never understood why they go so loud - the best weddings with the best music are almost always the ones where the band isn't too loud, and the ones who play too loud simply sound bad. But it's time for responsible people to start making it clear to the bands that if they don't turn it down, they don't get paid: It is that simple.


  1. Ugh, I can't stand loud music. That's why I wind up missing out on a lot of events, I stay home just to avoid the noise.

  2. Its really more related to the hall than anything else. Too many jewish wedding halls have vaulted ceilings which murder the acoustics of any band. If the music is too low then the sound is horribly thin and reedy, and thats aside from the (up to) half a second delay.

    And then what usually happens is, the band will perform a soundcheck, find an amicable level and have their levels all ruined by the large amount of people in the room. Very few halls are built properly from a musical standpoint. Id rather have it a bit too loud than a bit too low.

  3. ...except that's not really accurate. They need to adjust their sound accordingly. Nussi Gross (who actually played by my wedding) had a decent article about this in Baltimore a few months ago, but his solution (change how the places set up tables, etc.) only minimizes the problems and didn't solve the real problem - playing too loud.

    I've been to plenty of weddings in the same halls, and most have played too loud while a couple didn't. The ones who didn't were far better, and it didn't sound thin or reedy. The loud ones sounded like crap - the boom and crackle were constantly noticeable.

  4. I dunno - the band at my chasunah (which, by the way, was the best jewish wedding band I have heard anywhere, before or since) was at a reasonable volume - we signed them when the bandmaster said "Yeah, I go out into the crowd at the far end of the hall to monitor the noise level, and if it's too loud there we turn down the volume."

    Why can't more people realise that bands playing loud is a clear sakanah, and ba'alei simcha who allow this to happen are endangering their guests?? A typical wedding band is safe to listen to for about 15 minutes before permanent, irreversible, hearing damage starts - and your average wedding-going leibedik jew wonders why they can't hear the music or conversation as well as they used to...

    (See US Equal Energy and OHSA for precise decibel ratings.)

    But you must remember that ba'alei simcha, and society at large, does not yet understand the danger of loud music. When the iPod generation suffers massive debilitating hearing loss in their late 40s-early 50s, then maybe their grandchildren have a chance...

    In the meantime, invest $14.00 in a good pair of musician's earplugs and you will feel like someone turned the volume down for you. They are not only for babies, but for anyone who goes to a wedding and can't speak at a normal volume to the people two feet away from them.

    See also:

  5. I always bring earplugs to weddings. Otherwise, afterwards my ears are ringing for an hour (clearly a bad sign). Last wedding I stuffed tissues in my ears (forget the plugs).

    It's just horrible, and seems to be getting even worse.

  6. You should invite Rabbi Jeff Forsythe to write a guest post on the topic!

  7. The band that played my wedding had amplification only for the singer.

    The tuba, trumpet, banjo, and washboard did great without any amps. The sound filled the room, but people were able to talk comfortably.

    Loads of people were shocked at how nice our band was.

    I find it very frustrating to go out for the evening and not be able to talk to the person next to me!

    Not to mention, of course, the ear damage.

  8. Exactly, Ez.

    The volume was fairly loud at the concert in the Kotel plaza last night, but it was still a blast.

  9. Somehow, our ancestors thrived Jewishly for thousand of years without amplifiers.

    This overloud stuff is clear evidence of our assimilation, which we claim we're against.

  10. they even give out earplugs now at the frum weddings in b'more.

    simcha mann (from cleveland)'s business card has earplugs attached.


  12. Gavi - That's better than most, but it makes the most sense to go to the edge of the dance floor. If it's too loud past there, turn it down. People at the tables don't need the music to be any louder than background noise.

    I also find it ironic that the bands have incredibly good earplugs, yet they don't seem to care about the people dancing just 20 feet away.

    Akiva - Amen.

    Ayelet - Now that I know who he is, maybe I should!

    Trilcat - That's smart...!

    TNSPR - The march or a different concert?

    RAM - LOL, so true.

    Anon - That's good, they should. Simcha Mann? Old neighbor. :) I actually think he tends to get a bit loud as well, but not nearly as bad as many others.

    G - LOL!

  13. Ugh, I hate it when the music gets too loud at weddings! I should really invest in a good pair of earplugs.

  14. When someone I know was planning their daughter's wedding, they asked the band to please lower their volume, and the band said no dice. Apparently their amp was only set at one volume.

    Give me a break.

    "But it's time for responsible people to start making it clear to the bands that if they don't turn it down, they don't get paid: It is that simple."
    Ooh, can you tell me if it really works?

  15. Scraps - You should. :)

    The Apple - I would tell the band to find an amp that adjusts or tell them to play unplugged.

    I've never heard of a band refusing to do so when faced with the prospect of not getting paid. :)