Suppose every book comes with the warning not to read when light intensity is less than 300 lux, that doing so could damage your eyes. Or museums offering special glasses to protect us against aggressive colours by blocking or filtering those. After all, it can’t be healthy to be subjected to high doses of bright red. Sounds ridiculous, I hope. In music, in live music to be precise, it is the norm to do exactly that. Listening to extremely loud (or high pitched) music can damage the ears, obviously, but it can hardly be the solution to use earplugs to block volume, reducing the listening experience to ‘acoustic fog’. And for what? To protect against potential ear damage…this one time a month, this one and a half hour we could find ourselves in an extremely loud environment. Isn’t that overly protective and a bit silly? Some music is just loud, is meant to be experienced as such, like some movies are aggressive, contain scenes that are uncomfortable. I guess it’s only a matter of time, but so far we don’t censor such movies, hide controversial scenes behind flowers, or replace them with similar, less distressing scenes.

As much as I don’t agree with using earplugs, they’re still a choice, preferable over venues who decide to protect the audience by limiting overall loudness to 90 dB. That’s a step too far, one which comes with the unintended consequence of inviting people to talk. Some people just want to talk wherever they are. A concert is just sideshow, the wallpaper for their encounter and conversation. For everyone’s mental health I propose mandatory gags for all concerts that are not loud enough.