Why do some clubs have such loud music? I know loud volume is a substitute for quality tones, but do they really need to go that far? Some have sound levels of 105 decibels, a level that can cause hearing loss over time. Can employees file a workers’ comp claim for unsafe working conditions?
— Don, Ocean Beach
If all you want to do is get the tunes turned down, call Neighborhood Code Compliance at 619-236-5500 and file a complaint or three. The trick is to get your neighbors to do the same; otherwise you’re likely to be written off as a lonely curmudgeon. There’s no guarantee that the noise will diminish, but it’s your best shot at peace and quiet.
Employees at nightclubs probably could make claims against the club owners if loud music caused hearing loss. OSHA has strict regulations about on-the-job noise exposure. Workers’ compensation might not be the way to go about it since punitive damages for “pain and suffering” aren’t usually covered by that kind of insurance. Instead, employees would be more likely to file a civil claim.
The most interesting part of your letter (at least to me) is that loud music is “a substitute for quality tones.” Grouches like you and me are always complaining that pop music is too damn loud and it all sounds the same. Well, it turns out that we’re not so wrong. Some Spanish scientists crunched the numbers on 50 years’ worth of pop tunes and found out that the “baked in” volume of music has crept up over the decades. Also, the diversity of chord and melody transitions has trended ever downward. Could it be that turning up the volume is a way to make poor music sound better? At least there’s some proof that the Beatles are scientifically better than Justin Bieber!