cinema tinnitus

Are Movie Theatres Too Loud?

By Chrissy Hughes on 28th January 2015

A few weeks ago I came across a Twitter page called CALMS (Cut Absurdly Loud Movie Sounds). CALMS is an advocacy group whose purpose is to work toward reduction of extremely loud volumes in movie theaters, not only for the movies themselves but particularly for the trailers and advertisements.

When speaking to CALMS founders, Bill Young and Arnold Gordon, they said their aim is to  “Protect the hearing of movie patrons, especially for children and seniors. For many, cinema is a key part of living and source of social interaction. It should be pleasurable, not painful, and rewarding.”

KXAN.com spoke to a respected Hollywood sound engineer, Brian McCarty who said that this issue is a significant problem. “We are aware that the current standards are broken in several respects, including volume levels,” said McCarty. He refers to the standard level at which movies should be played back in movie theaters. There are no regulations on volume for filmmakers or movie theaters at present, only an industry standard. He goes on to say that filmmakers are making films louder, simply because they can.

A report by the Ear, Nose and Throat journal on the noise exposure in movie theatres is shocking. It shows that the three highest maximum sound levels were recorded during the showings of Transformers (133.9 dBA), License to Wed (129.1 dBA) and The Simpsons Movie (128.6 dBA). What’s so shocking about this is the fact that two of these films are geared towards a younger audience and 130 dBA is equal to the sound of a jet engine!

We’ll be behind these groups in campaigning to reduce the sound levels in films. Do you find movie theatres too loud? Please let us know over on Facebook or Twitter. You can join the CALMS group over on Facebook here.

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