Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Steven Mlynarek, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Bernard, Ph.D.

Committee Member

René Salazar, Ph.D.


Nightclub Noise Exposure, Music Overexposure


Much research has gone into noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the effects of high intensity noise levels on the hearing mechanism of individuals. A study by the National Institutes of Health has established that high intensity sounds can cause hearing damage of either a temporary, or worse, a permanent nature; regardless of the age of the person. While sound levels below 75 decibels are considered comparatively harmless and have been found not to cause any kind of permanent hearing loss; sound levels greater than 85 decibels and regular exposure of approximately 8 hours per day, on an average, has been found to cause permanent loss of hearing (Bulla, 2003).

The purpose of this research study was to assess excessive noise exposure of music-oriented nightclub employees, with music playing. Two employees were used as candidates for the purpose of this study, which was conducted on three days during a work week. Data on personal noise exposure was collected using personal noise dosimeters on a server and a promoter.

For purposes of the study, a sound level meter was used to collect the noise levels in the working area, and prepare a sound map. The study was conducted in a nightclub in Tampa, Florida, with music playing. Data was collected on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. In total, the data was collected over six sampling nights. The data on noise levels was collected for both personal noise data levels and area noise levels during the period of study. In addition to the personal dosimeters, a sound level meter was also used for data collection.

The results of this study indicate that noise levels were highest on nights with live entertainment. The days with performance of live entertainment were random and followed no particular order.

The highest TWA noise exposure of 97.3 dB, for the server, occurred on Saturday, when a live entertainer performed in the establishment. The highest TWA noise exposure of 94.3 dB, for the promoter, occurred on Wednesday. Using the OSHA PEL and OSHA Hearing Conversation measurement methods, the server was exposed to excessive noise levels, greater than 85 dBA, on every night of the study (6 nights), while the promoter had three exposures that were greater than 90 dBA, using the OSHA PEL method, and exposures greater than 85 dBA on every night of the study, using the OSHA Hearing Conservation method. However, using the ACGIH measurement method, both the Server and the Promoter were exposed to excessive noise levels every night of the study (six nights).