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Out Of The Mailbag – To YW Editor (Wedding Band Volume)

yw new logo5.jpgLately I have been to several weddings where the music has been too loud. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to get the music levels down. For whatever reasons, the bands feel that if they do not play loudly they will not get hired or perhaps they feel that if they actually played at a volume where you could hear the music – their mistakes would be too obvious.

In any case this problem is a serious one, that is harming many people by causing lasting damage to their hearing. I do not think that you can expect the guests at the wedding to do or say anything, as most people would not want to risk upsetting anyone. Also, people are not going to leave weddings due to the noise level since they want to be there to celebrate. What people will do is complain afterwards to themselves, their spouses or their friends that it was too loud, but nothing more than that will be done.

The bottom line is something needs to be done. I was hoping that by posting this letter people could leave feedback for ideas on how to get the noise levels down to a healthy level.

Who knows, perhaps together we could make a difference.


Becoming hard of hearing.

44 Responses

  1. Why do you say that you can’t expect the guests to do or say something? Yet you expect the baalei simcha and the band to read your mind?

    My recommendation is to go over to the band or the caterer and ask them to lower the volume. If that doesn’t work for you, and you are really becoming hard of hearing, invest 99 cents in earplugs at any drugstore and put them in next time you go to a wedding and the music is too loud for you.

  2. Yah, and I want peace in the Middel East!!!!

    pfff…….is this really newsworthy???

  3. This is a very serious issue. It is a hezek by the band to do this. However they think (probably correctly) that if they don’t blow everyone’s ears out (somewhat permanently) that they wont get bookings.

    Editor: The issue is somewhat more technically and medically complex.

    In the medical area, please ask The Jewish Observer for their article(s) and notes on the subject.

    Edited by Site Moderation Panel.

  4. I am a woman in my high 30’s who is also becoming hard of hearing. Recently, at a family simcha, I approached the band and requested that they lower the volume- the guests were SCREAMING to each other to be heard- he said “there is nothing that can be done”. Oh, really? My husband saw me arguing, came over and clamly said “either lower the volume or I will pull the plug”, boy, did he quickly abide.
    We DO have a choice, speak up. or walk out. Baalei simcha will have to take us seriously. By our child’s wedding, I told the player, if the volume is too high, you will not get paid. The music was beautiful and I did not get any complaints. SO it CAN be done.

  5. Leave out the amplifiers, nowadays the music is quite loud enough without being amplified. The Oilom can then sing as well and it will be more heimish and quieter!

  6. i have been at simchas where the plug was yanked out of the outlet!!! kudos to you.
    usually it is the 1 man bands that over do it and not the several piece band in my expierence
    btw if it is too loud i go home even if a korov’s wedding

  7. The music is loud,the dancing is wild,there is no d’var Torah,and and the idea of simcha and kedusha are completely forgotten.
    Next time the Gedolim ammend the ” Simcha Guidelines ” (including the Satmar) they should add this to the rules. If the mashgiach decides it’s too loud,the whole affair is to be considered non-kosher and all ‘guests’ leave.

  8. new comer next time you do that ask the ball simcha before you start making changes by someone elses simcha. how would you like it if i came to your simcha and aske the caterer to remove all the challah because i’m alergic to wheat. its ludacris if you cant take the noise say mazel tov and go home.

  9. I agree something must be done. I was at a simcha recently where I saw a man holding a newborn baby in his arms right in front of a huge loudspeaker. It took me a good few minutes to get him to understand that he was permanently ruining his baby’s hearing. The rabbonim ought to make takonos about this since nothing else seems to work.


  11. To all of you commenting;


    #1. THE SIZE & SHAPE OF THE ROOM: unfortunately many halls are built in a way that the band isn’t able to set up in the center of the room, therefor in order for people at the other end of the hall (which can be quite far away) to hear the music we have to put the volume higher.

    #2. THE ACOUSTICS: it is very unfortunate that people will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without even taking into consideration the acoustics of the room!!?? THERE IS NOTHING THAT WE THE BAND CAN DO ABOUT THAT. No matter what we do, it won’t work. Think how it would sound if you placed a band in the lobby of an apartment building.

    #3. ONE MAN BANDS: Personally, I find that the issue of volume is a bigger issue with the one man bands. For some reason it seems that they feel they have to play louder in order to make up for the rest of the pieces that are missing.



    Then there are those that PARK right in front of the band and complain… have to understand that from where you are standing, we have to project the sound all over the room. Of course its going to be loud there.

    PS. I can only speak for my orchestra, and like i started off saying, my personal preference is to have the volume as low as possible. Nor oif simchas

  12. Simple solution. Why not have more speakers position around the room? this way the volume can be lower and everyone can still hear the music.

  13. I recently made a chasunah and I told the band to play quietly during the seudah. Also, I put out a box of earplugs on the tables with the seating cards for anyone who wanted to use them. There were no complaints, only compliments!

  14. Please leave the Gedolim out of this! this is definetly the kind of thing that the market should take care of itself! if people don’t like it they will have to stop, or get better technology to dipurse the sound and not have it come from one corner.

    In this generation or any generation, the Gedolim’s voice becomes cheap and forgranted. You only have so much Gedolim bulets, don’t use them on stupideties!

  15. I say that all the guests who suffer from the noise should have a consultation with their ear doctor and have the bills sent to the musician!!

  16. I really agree with this letter. I find that simcha music is played to loudly, gives head aches, and can cause permanent hearing damage. It is especially bad when your table is near a speaker.

  17. very simple…
    make a “earplug gemach”
    have people go around with them during the weddings. (a small printed information sheet on the dangers of loud volume could be given out too).
    hopefully, after a while, people will get the hint.

  18. Perhaps we should put up a sound meter at every simcha, prominently displayed, so the guests (and hosts) can see whether we are above the legal decibel level.

  19. The change needs to start with ba’alei simcha, who must stipulate when hiring the band that they want quieter music. When I told a musician that during dinner I want people to be able to converse without shouting, he said he understood.

    If it was not discussed beforehand, I have heard it suggested that both mechutonim go over to the band & ask them to lower the sound, although if one side hired the band it seems their request should be enough.

    I was recently at a simcha where, with all the nice supplies provided in the ladies’ lounge (hair spray, brushes etc) there were large packages of earplugs. But the ladies wondered – why is this necessary? Why can’t they just turn down the volume?

    The bandleader wrote about acoustics & room layouts. I don’t understand what he’s saying. If the sound is at pr below an acceptable all over, some people won’t hear? Or won’t hear it as loud enough?

    In addition to hearing damage, I seomtimes feel as though my heart is pounding from the loud rhythm. Any doctors here who can tell us if this makes sense?

  20. Most of the time, the sound is fine, only occasionally is it a problem. if the sound is too loud for you, try not to stand near the band. also the louder the music the more mesameach the chosson and kalleh are. ALL THOSE ARE LOSING THEIR HEARING it has nothing to do with the 5 times a year that they go to a loud wedding.

  21. 1) Not all music is loud! Where I play, most of the time it’s people asking me to ‘up’ the volume! I always start on low and then gain upon demand. I find it less harrassing to be told to make it louder then to be asked to lower it.

    2) Anyone besides the hiring baal simcho has no right to instruct the musician. Period! Suggesting yes, but commanding obsolutely not.

    3) People have to understand that the music has to travel throught the whole hall, as mentioned earlier.

    4) One cannot sit directly in front of the musician and request him to lower the volume. Silly! – Does the musician now have to relocate to the other side???

    5) The reason why band players wear them is because they’re constantly exposed to high decibles. One night of loud music cannot (I think) do harm.

    6) Comment #14 is correct. The more speakers surronding the room, the lower is needs to be. However it is not always possible / feasible, and is extremly burdensome.

    7) When attending another simcha with the music blasting, I take a cut of a piece of paper towel, moisten it in a drop of water, and plug up my ears! It works perfectly! Done that for the past 20+ years.

    Again, this is all irrelevant to my one-man-band. My style of strickly heimishe, erliche, yiddishe music does not call for high decibles, nor does my amplifier system have the capabilities to reach such a high volume. The oilam that attend my chasunas, dance with a true simcha shel mitzva. Not with the junk/jazz/rock/hora/garbage that passes as ‘Jewish’ music of today.

  22. Folks: ‘Der voos hot the mayah, hot de dayah’! The person who pays the band (whether one piece or many) has the right to decide the volume. Not the chosan or kallah! The person who hired the musician should be responsible for the volume and the damage to people’s eardrums! More than one musician told my mother when she planned my brother’s chasuna’s that the bochurim like it loud and wild, the louder the better.

    Personally, I like the idea of distributing the amplifiers around the room and set a maximum permitted volume. If it goes louder, start unplugging the amplifiers! See how many compliments you get!

  23. 13 oy vey
    PERHAPS you don’t know this but when typing, if you type in bold it is tantamount to SCREAMING. I hope your hearing has not been effected to much by all of your gigs. I am sorry for writing in lower case. if you can’t read it copy and paste it in capitals.

  24. my parents gave out earplugs by my sister’s chassunah. They felt that loud music does indeed make things more leibedik (think what the music is like by a gym), but people who would suffer from it shuldn’t have to!

  25. I am a Speech-language Pathologist with quite a bit of background (including a Bachelor’s degree) in Audiology (the science of hearing, hearing aids, etc.) While I am not an expert by any means, I do know quite more than the average “layman” who is merely guessing about what the loud noise at a chasuna can do. I welcome an audiologist’s comments, since they will know WAY MORE than I do! However, I would like to make a few points to clarify and comment:
    1) You CAN ABSOLUTELY LOSE YOUR HEARING from ONE, yes, only ONE instance of being around noise that is too loud!! This has been scientifically proven over and over again. It’s called a “Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).” Look it up if you don’t believe me. Personally, if somebody came to my simcha and became permanently hearing impaired, I would feel terrible! Do you want your simcha to be responsible for such a thing? If not, then take control and do something BEFORE it gets too loud!
    2) Anybody ever go to a simcha and come back with “ringing” in their ears? That’s called “Tinnitis.” In general, Tinnitis caused by exposure to loud noise for a few hours should go away within 24-48 hours. Expose your ears too frequently and it will become permanent. There is no cure for Tinnitis and the treatments aren’t that great. Anybody out there still feel that we shouldn’t all run to do something about this???
    3) Screaming in order to make yourself heard over noise can cause damage to your vocal cords. And, yes, you only have to do it ONCE to cause such damage. (Don’t argue with me! I’m a speech pathologist and I know what I’m talking about! I treat these things all the time!)
    4) Noise is annoying and people don’t like it. (Again, scientifically proven.) People move away from loud noises because they find it irritating. You don’t always notice that you actually do this since it’s a reflex. If you want people to stay at your simcha, you must get the noise level under control.
    5) Stepping 6 feet away from a noise source will reduce the decibels by a significant amount (also scientifically proven).
    6) Bands only do what they are paid to do. If the Ba’al Simcha tells the band “I don’t want it loud. I don’t want people getting permanent hearing damage from my simcha. If it’s too loud, I will not pay you!” How fast do you think the band run to accomodate such a request?
    7) When planning my wedding, we specifically chose a band that said “if we play loud, we don’t play well.” My chosson and I went to observe the band at another simcha before we booked them. If we were uncomfortable with the sound, we would never have booked them. We paid a bit more for a better band that played well at a comfortable level. You have no idea how many people complimented us on the band that we chose and how well they play and how leibadik it was. Baruch Hashem, nobody walked away from my wedding with a Noise-Induced Hearing Loss!!!

  26. I have not noticed too much of a problem with the music volume at most of the chasunas I have gone to… I mean I dunno, maybe I’m losing my hearing and I just dont realize it… but seriously most the time its not too bad unless you are right under the amp…. in which case get up and move elsewhere. Carrying ear plugs on you or putting them on the tables is a nice solution… like that idea.
    As long as we have the simchas to blast the music at,…. aint no complaints from me and mine!!!!
    May we continue to share in simchas together!!


    It is against the Torah to hurt people. It is a mitzvah to watch your health (including hearing). Let’s stop over-doing everything at our chassunas!

  28. #29 SpeechLady is spot-on with her information.
    #25 Yochie is also correct that wet paper-towels make an excellent in-a-pinch earplugs (I’ve used them myself when operating a hammer-drill for extended periods).

    I’d like to add a couple of additional points to SpeechLady:
    1) The length of exposure to noise which will cause permanent hearing loss depends on the decibel level.
    It can be as long as half an hour or as short as a couple of minutes.
    Exposure to noise can be at a simcha, listening to your MP3 player, construction-related, or many other causes.
    2) Hearing loss is not always noticeable right away. It may show up years later, and it may just be upper frequencies that are not obvious in normal conversation.
    3) Hearing loss is cumulative and permanent. The fine hairs in the ear that allow us to hear don’t regenerate once they are damaged or destroyed. There are many 30, 40, and 50 year-olds who wish they had lowered the volume when they were younger.
    4) Ear buds are potentially very dangerous because the noise is much closer to where it can do damage.
    5) If you think the music at a simcha is too loud, it probably is. Try to dance farther away from the speakers and minimize your up-close exposure.
    6)Tinnitis is annoying beyond belief. It interferes with your waking moments as well as when you try to sleep. It is not quite chronic pain but it is not much better.

  29. i have one thing to say if you want to blast the music fine do that-but not during the seuda during dancing its fine. but the rest of the time its just cruel u want to shmooze with the people at your table and u cant because the band is blasting

  30. This is real crisis! We just gotta figure out a name for it!

    Seriously, the Baalai Simcha always put me on a table near the band & it gives me a real headache! Also, I can’t shmooz well with the guy next to me!

    While we’re on the subject – does anyone know why there is always some guy who feels the need to croak out some song at the top of his lungs during the meal. It’s so annoying!

    Maybe the music level should be in the Chasunna Takkanos???

  31. i love the baal simcha who gave out earplugs at the wedding. usually i bring my own. there is just no other way to enjoy the simcha.
    if i may add , with all these kids (and adults) walking around with the earphones in their ears, i think in the next decade there will be a lot of hard of hearing people going around. can you hear me?

  32. Earplugs are a great idea, but if I can’t enjoy anybody’s company, and can’t converse with my friends and relatives, cause my ears are plugged, then I may as well wish mazel tov, and leave the simcha.

  33. You see it goes like this.The bal simcha paid a arm and three legs for this wedding, so to feel like he is getting his money worth, he wants the music to play as loud as possible, so he can forget that the 5 hour wedding is costing 40 thousand dollars, above everything he has paid out, and will pay out later.Its a kind of anesthetic for the bal simcha.So now you know why the music is so loud, so he doesn’t feel the pain and and doesn’t feel like such a fool that he had to keep up with the Rothchilds.And now he can go to bed in debt and everyone is going to say” nothing” because everyone is busy with there own problems, so let the music rock.

  34. I was at a chasuna where the baal simcha DID ask the band to lower the volume and they refused.

    I wear earplugs, but I’d prefer not to have to read lips to understand what the person next to me is saying. And I don’t understand the comments from musicians saying that the music has to be loud to be heard throughout the hall — in my experience, it’s too loud throughout the hall.

    Doesn’t the government in Israel now regulate the sound level in simcha halls?

  35. Throughout the comments we repeatedly see the common enemy ‘the baal hasimcha’. when taking a closer look we find that many of the people commenting have at one point been one of those notorious ‘baalei simcha’.
    The baal simcha is not at fault. The ‘baal simcha’got his title only hours earlier and will loose his status a few hours later. Before he will assume this status again, he’ll be attending many more simchas as victim of loud music caused by the ‘baal simcha’.
    The BS is not the one who instructs the band to play too loud nor does he tell the waiter how to serve. He is thinking about his simcha or the debt it is causing him.
    Just like the guest he does not feel qualified to mix in to the technical aspects of the wedding. After all, he is only a fresh baal simcha who doesn’t have any experience.
    The best way to deal with this problem is by posting names of problem bands on this forum. No one likes negative publicity. The day a list of ‘top ten too loud bands’ goes up we will start seeing improvement.

  36. I suggest we boycott the bands that play too loudly. We should knock them all out of business. We should then institute a new rule, no more bands not even one man bands.The baal simcha should bring along his CD player and we should all listen and dance to songs off the CD played very low and calmly. Of coarse the music must only be from the pre 1960’s other wise we will be sure to anger some people. If people are still complaining that the music is too loud we should then convene an assifas rabonim and issue a decleration that music should be totally banned. We should then focus on the photography and video’s. Oh, they are such an annoyance, allways getting in the way and disturbibg our meals. Lets ban that too. Oh also the food, I was at a wedding last week and I came home with geferlach stomach cramps, lets do away with the food.
    Anybody for my ideas?

  37. You know what all of you are not making any sense if the Music is so Loud ask the Musician to lower it a little bit.. The Musician would listen to your concern… There no reason to feel blocked by your concern… Just do what is good for everyone.. Just remember our job is feel the proper way of living and commuicate nicely and if it doesn’t work out ask the Chosson Father to ask the Musician to lower it.. Because he is paying for it..

  38. It seems that the sound level has gone off the decibel scale & on to the Richter scale at Jewish weddings! BTW, I plan to tell the band that if the music is to loud they won’t get paid!

  39. My friend will soon be getting a degree in Audiology. Great field – there’s going to be a great need for them by this generation.

    That ear plugs at a wedding are necessary can’t be denied. But that takes away from the pleasure of attending a wedding. Either way, you can’t hear what the people at your table are trying to say to you…

  40. Okay everyone, great idea about the ear plugs and all, but in all honesty, do you really want to sit at a simcha, in all your finery, your beautiful gown, $2000 shaitel, diamand earings etc,….. with bright orange earplugs sticking out of your ears???? I mean after all, how ARE you gonna hear that loshon hora your neighbor is sharing with you?!?! We dont come to a simcha to sit in our own little cacoon, do we? I know I dont!!

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