Thu | Dec 14, 2017

No grave concerns for headphone party trend

Published:Sunday | August 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew
SSP Steve McGregor
Dj mixer with headphones at nightclub
Dr Myrton Smith, ENT Specialist at the BBC Medical Services
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Normally when an individual plugs in their headphones into a device to listen to music, they become detached from the world, but the emerging silent party trend is quite the opposite.

"Persons partying in groups, do express concern relating to communicating with their friends or just their general safety, and we willingly answer those questions to ease their apprehensions," said Delano 'DJ 3D' Thomas local director of Silent Noise by Delano.

However, some patrons still question the use of the headphones because of the thought that it may affect their hearing as well as the idea of wearing a headphone that was worn previously by another individual at another event.

Dr Myrton Smith, ENT specialist at the BBC Medical Services says, "Sharing of headphones does not have as great a risk as sharing ear buds, it is easier for epithelial or skin cells as well as bacterial and fungal organisms to transfer from the ear of one person to the ear of another via ear buds."

The matters of general hygiene and possible residue of sweat however, are dependent on the user and the providers of the headphones in the case of sweat that may be on a headphone.

"We ensure that the headphones are cleaned properly and also supply protective muffs that are disposable," said Stephen Wong, general manager at Sparkles Productions.

 

HYGIENE ISSUE

 

It is however, unhygienic if the headphones are reassigned to a patron directly after using the equipment. Patrons must always ensure that the headphones they receive are sanitised.

"The greater cause for concern is the volume, since a person can control the volume and very few persons will go to a party and choose the lowest level. If the volume can be regulated centrally, then it's not a problem; as we are seeing more young persons experiencing early onset hearing loss," said Dr. Smith.

"As an ENT specialist, I always warn individuals that once sound is uncomfortable then it means you are at risk of damaging your hearing (or ears) or if you have on headphones and the person beside can hear the sound then it is definitely too loud," he added.

Nonetheless, the use of silent headphones, assists with general noise control. It is a useful and unique way to have parties as well as a technology that can be useful for other types of events.

"The plus is when you take off your headphones, you can hear your surrounding clearly, but in a regular event that utilise speaker systems, depending on the volume of the sound, it could also affect judgement and how a person reacts, said Darrian McGhann, promoter of the Beer Silence events held at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Assistant commissioner of police in charge of Community Safety and Security, Steve McGregor, says as it relates to safety, "Silent events that utilise headphone technology are not a concern for safety but the promoters of any silent event still need permission from the police department as you will have a public gathering and you don't want to host an event without initiating the knowledge of the police."

While the mode of partying is silent, it is not affected by the Noise Abatement Act, but there are still obligations to the municipal corporations within the area of the event especially if the function aims to involve payment for liquor and general entry.

"It will however, be given leniency as to the hours allowed for the event and it helps a lot by taking some of the unease with the task of the noise regulation for events," said McGregor. "I look to see how it pans out and it has my support," he added.