Global Standard for Safe Listening Venues and Events 2022 : WHO

March 3, 2022

On World Hearing Day 2022, WHO focused on the importance of safe listening as a means of maintaining good hearing across the life course, and issued a new international standard for safe listening at venues and events. The standard applies to places and activities where amplified music is played.

WHO is encouraging governments to develop and enforce legislation for safe listening and raise awareness of the risks of hearing loss. The private sector should include WHO’s recommendations for safe listening features in their products, venues, and events. To motivate behavioural change, civil society organisations, parents, teachers and physicians can educate young people to practice safe listening habits.Mumbli will enable venues to adhere to these new safety standards. In 2021, WHO launched the World Report on Hearing to address the increasing number of people living with, and at risk of, hearing loss. It highlighted noise control as one of the seven key H.E.A.R.I.N.G. interventions and stressed the importance of mitigating exposure to loud sounds.What is safe listening? Safe listening simply refers to a habitual practice of enjoying music while lowering the risk of irreversible hearing damage. To spread safe listening, WHO released the global standard for safe listening in venues and events.Safe listening can prevent hearing reduction and ultimately hearing loss!

What is the global standard for safe listening venues and events?

As a response to the growing concern about hearing loss caused by loud sounds, WHO has developed a set of evidence-based recommendations to reduce the risk of hearing loss in people visiting entertainment venues and events.The standard consists of 6 features and they apply to venues such as bars, nightclubs, concerts and festivals.

Why is safe listening important for venues and events?

hearing wellness issues
                                                 Source: World Health Organisation (WHO)

Six features of the safe listening standard for venues or events

1. Limiting sound levels

A maximum limit of 100dB LAeq 15 minutes* should be imposed, keeping sound safe and enjoyable for audiences.

2. Monitoring sound levels

Designated staff members should monitor and record live sound levels using calibrated measurement equipment.

3. Optimising venue acoustics and sound systems

The sound system and venue acoustics should be optimised to ensure enjoyable sound quality and safe listening levels for all.

4. Making personal hearing protection available

Hearing protection such as earplugs should be available to audience members, with instructions.

5. Access to quiet zone(s)

Quiet zones should be made available to audiences, allowing them the opportunity to rest their ears and decrease the risk of hearing damage.

6. Provision of training and information

Staff and audience members should be informed about practical steps they can take to ensure safe listening.

Six features of the safe listening standard for venues or events
Source: World Health Organisation (WHO)

How can the safe listening standard be used for venues and events?


can develop legislation or regulations which are then promoted alongside safe listening awareness campaigns, and monitored for compliance.

Owners/managers of venues and events, industry associations

can adopt the standard and implement its features on a voluntary basis. Mumbli can make this possible for businesses to achieve.

Educational institutions for musicians and acoustic engineers

can include a safe listening module focusing on the standard’s needs, rationale, benefits, and features.

Related News: World's first hearing wellness district

What are the benefits of implementing the safe listening standard at venues and events?


Hearing loss is a growing global public health issue. Its prevention will help reduce the need for hearing care, improve quality of life and increase productivity.

Owners/managers of venues and events, industry associations

Respecting clients’ hearing health and improving their listening experience makes good financial sense for an industry that relies on their capacity to hear.

Acousticians, engineers, musicians, event organisers, and others

It will reduce the danger of hearing damage in both the audiences and those working at such venues and events.

What can you do to promote safe listening at venues and events?

Civil society can play a pivotal role in raising awareness of the safe listening standard and advocating for its implementation among governments, owners/ managers of venues and events, and the staff working at such venues and events

world health organisation logo png

To Hear for Life, Listen With Care! Make Listening Safe

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