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A Quiet Oktoberfest?

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Schottenhamel tent is the place to be, if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, all visitors will then be allowed to quench their thirst.

Oktoberfest (German pronunciation: [ɔkˈtoːbɐˌfɛst]) is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those not themselves in traditional Bavarian gear, admire those that are.

Among the many attractions, the “liquid gold” is probably the most important thing at the Oktoberfest. As usual, over 6 million liters of beer will be drunk this year.

Did you know? – A quiet Oktoberfest.

To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, amicable for the elderly and families, the concept of the “quiet Oktoberfest” was introduced in 2005. Until 6:00 pm, the orchestras in the tents only play quiet brass music, for example traditional folk music. Only after that may Schlager pop or electric music be played. The music played in the afternoon is limited to 85 Decibels.

This was however not met favourably! At that year’s Oktoberfest, newly curbed music volumes at the tents of Munich’s six major breweries had many of the festival’s younger visitors voicing their discontent. In protest, many guests simply stood on the tables and sang party hits in a kind of impromptu choir. Sometimes they belted it out louder than the music.

While unfortunate that the idea of a quiet Oktoberfest was not well received, hearing loss has become increasingly prevalent in the younger population!

Hearing loss in the younger population.

Festivals are a great place for good times and good tunes, however if the music volume goes too loud it may cause significant hearing damage if you don’t take precautions. Consistent exposure to noise levels that reach 85 decibels is considered harmful, reports Dangerous Decibels.

It’s not just studies that show a correlation between music festivals and hearing loss. More people are going to the doctor to address noise-induced hearing loss, and many of these patients are younger.

“I have many patients who report hearing loss and tinnitus in one or both ears following excessive exposure to loud music in the setting of music festivals, personal music devices, gyms, clubs, even loud restaurants. The damage to the hair cells in the inner ear (the cochlea) is cumulative,” says Dr. Darius Kohan.

“People don’t tend to notice this loss at first if it is mild, but they do notice it when it is severe when they have trouble understanding what people are saying and by then it is too late,”  says Dr. Julie Glick, audiologist and founder of Musicians Hearing Solutions.

So that old adage “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” doesn’t really apply. These days, if it’s too loud, well, then it just is — and you should have an annual hearing test conducted to monitor your hearing. Visit our hearing care professionals today.

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