Hearing Protection while playing bagpipes


Over the years there has been many discussions if playing in a pipe band can lead to hearing damage or loss. With many tests done and surveys conducted one can conclude that members of a band could indeed sustain hearing damage.

Without hearing protection, members face a serious risk of lasting hearing damage as decibel levels are over 90. Outdoors it has been recorded that pipes can reach decibel levels ranging between 108 to 111. 111 decibels is equivalent to how loud a pneumatic drill is.

Indoors, pipes can reach decibel levels up to 116, which is as loud as a chainsaw.  Snare drums can hit up to 122 decibels. The noise level is louder than the sound produced by a jet engine at take off.

It has been suggested that regular hearing tests are a good idea to ensure members of the bands are not sustaining any hearing damage.

In 2006, the Ministry of Defence in Britain ordered Army bagpipers to limit playing indoors 15 minutes a day and 24 minutes a day when playing outdoors. If the piper wants to play longer, they have to wear ear protection.

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