In the semi-nature reserve ‘Oostvaardersplassen’ rangers will shoot 1830 deer to solve the issue of overpopulation. The legal court turned down the objection of conservationists that the noise of the shooting would scare the birds. The judge argued that the rangers would use silencers on their rifles. That must be nice for the birds, that may freely whistle now.
The young people in The Netherlands are increasingly suffering from hearing impairments. The foundation ‘Hoorstichting’ informed us last year that almost 25% of young people suffer from some form of hearing impairment. There is no national law or regulation that protects visitors of festivals or places of entertainment against the damaging effects of noise or loud music.
Earlier on there was an agreement on protective measures with popfestivals and with the entertainment industry. Last week cinemas, fitnesscenters, and student unions joined in to sign the agreement. It states that visitors will get easy access to earplugs in places with loud music. Also there will be a maximum sound level. Moreover the parties have agreed to inform the public about risks of hearing damage.
It seems such a paradox: first you produce very loud music and consequently you sell earplugs and warn the public in order to reduce the damage. To me it seems more rational to firmly reduce the noice in the first place, doesn’t it?
But Danish research showed that loud music evokes more joy and energy in young people. It gives them an adrenaline-kick. Like other kicks this one is also addictive. Young people increasingly seek kicks because it feels so good. The more the better. At their young age they are not aware of the risks and the long term damage. So earplugs won’t really safe them. And in the long run they will suffer from hearing damage and the famous whistle in their ears.
Earplugs will be a makeshift measure if we do not succeed in reducing the over all volume of modern music. Couldn’t we better look into the underlying reasons of the kick-seeking behaviours? Into the drivers and the energy levels, or into other forms of reward? If we will not put a hold to this trend soon young people will not hear any bird whistle altogether, apart from the whistle in their ears.