Loud music is music that is played at a high volume, often to the point where it disturbs others and/or causes hearing damage. It may include music that is sung live with one or more voices, played with instruments, or broadcast with electronic media, such as radio, CD, or MP3 players.
Playing loud music that can be heard from outside of the property from where it is being played (such as a house, apartment, hotel room, or motor vehicle) is considered to be rude by many people and societies. Among those opposed to the practice, it may result in the loss of respect and possible legal action. But in certain contained settings, such as clubs or concerts, music is often played very loudly, but is viewed as acceptable.
Many jurisdictions have laws defining loud music as a criminal offense, typically a misdemeanor. The exact definition of what constitutes a loud music violation varies by location, either at a certain volume (measured in decibels) or the distance from the source at which the music can be heard. The time of day is also often a factor in the law, with the restrictions in some places applying only to specified nighttime hours (e.g. 11 PM-7 AM). The amount of effort put forth by law enforcement members in dealing with loud music also varies by location.
The most common punishment for a conviction is a fine or some other small sanction. But on rare occasions, loud music may be grounds for imprisonment. In May 2008, a United Kingdom woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating a court order not to play music that disturbed her neighbors eleven times.
Many public transportation services have rules against the use of sound-producing devices without earphones, or even with earphones if the music can be heard by others. Since mass transit agencies are frequently government-operated and/or subsidized, these rules can be legally enforced, and violation may result in prosecution.
In 2014, Michael Dunn got a conviction after he got into a fight with several young adults over their loud music. After his arrest, he said, "I got attacked and I fought back because I didn’t want to be a victim and now I'm in trouble."
Continual exposure to loud music may result in hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a set of recommendations aimed at protecting the hearing health of musicians and those who work in music and entertainment venues. Depending on the music sound levels and duration of exposure, as well as hearing protection used if any, the risk of hearing damage can vary significantly. Music played at 85 decibels for prolonged periods of times can cause hearing damage, for instance, sound levels at some rock concerts can reach 110-120 A-weighted decibels, and at those levels, the maximum daily limit set by most standards and regulations can be reached in less than one minute of exposure.
It is predicted that exposure to loud music will cause as many as 50 million Americans to suffer hearing loss by 2050.
A study conducted by French scientists showed that loud music leads to more alcohol consumption in less time. For three Saturday evenings researchers observed customers of two bars situated in a medium-sized city in the west of France. Participants included forty males aged between 18 and 25, who were unaware that they were subjects of a research. The study featured only those who ordered a glass of draft beer (25 cl. or 8 oz.). The lead researcher, Nicolas Guéguen, said that each year more than 70,000 people in France die from an increased level of alcohol consumption, which also leads to fatal car accidents.
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It will be interesting to encourage the owners of bars to display music with a moderate level in order to struggle against alcohol consumption.