Minneapolis might require bars to provide free earplugs

freyearplugs.jpg
Earplug photo via 4nitsirk's Flickr
Frey, a first-term council member, defeated Diana Hofstede in November.
Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey has introduced an ordinance that would require all establishments with on-sale liquor licenses to provide free earplugs to patrons and employees.

SEE ALSO: Hearing survey : What fans tolerate to experience the music they love

"The key piece of this is that it will not cost business owners a single dime ever," Frey told us this afternoon. "These earplugs are being provided for free by a campaign that has been launched to prevent hearing loss, which is a quite prevalent issue, especially recently."

Frey said a consortium of businesses and nonprofits, including 3M and Miracle Ear, have agreed to provide earplugs for free. If the freebies are no longer available, the ordinance would no longer be in force.

"The requirement imposed by this section shall not apply unless the license official has identified a source or supplier of such hearing protection devices that is capable of providing sufficient devices free of charges to all such establishments," the ordinance says.

Frey said his proposal was motivated by a combination of feedback from constituents and his own research into hearing loss.

"This is mainly for young people who wear headphones with the decibel level juiced through the roof, then in evenings they head out to the club," he said. "This will be an issue decades down the road and it's just giving them an option to throw some earplugs in.

"The bars and venues I've talked to have been very supportive," Frey added.

A public hearing about Frey's proposed ordinance will be held next month. He acknowledged it's still a bit of a work in progress, as it remains to be determined whether the finished product will cover all bars or just those that play music above a certain yet-to-be-determined volume.

"I go out as much as the next person," Frey said. "This is just about having the option for an individual to protect their ears if they want to, and all businesses have to do is have this box providing free earplugs sitting on their shelves."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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184 comments
ericdweiss
ericdweiss

This is just bad governing. We shouldn't be creating ordinances for things like this. The city can create a program if they want but to govern like this, when we have much bigger issues in our city, is just downright foolish. 

Elizabeth Tobias
Elizabeth Tobias

providing them is pretty useless if the people don't know how to wear them properly. Which most people don't.

MNRKBA
MNRKBA

Maybe FREE condoms should be required to be handed out for all the STDs that happen as a result of bar hook ups. Government overreach at its finest.


1NationUnderAGroove
1NationUnderAGroove

You guys must all have severe hearing loss if you're actually calling this a bad idea. I'm a 28 year old musician. I already have some hearing loss from a genetic condition. I try to bring earplugs with me when I go out but sometimes I forget. If bars want to blast live music at a volume that has been proven to damage ears they should also give out free earplugs. Simple. Now let's redirect the effort from this comment board into calling our state representatives about medicinal marijuana.

Cräig Benttimäki
Cräig Benttimäki

Horrible idea! There are enough rules and regulations as it is. If someone wants to wear earplugs, they can bring their own.

James Cox
James Cox

how about staying away from the club if the music is too loud or better yet BUY A SET OF BALLS

Mike Fisher
Mike Fisher

I'd trade free earplugs for safer streets

Amy Salinger
Amy Salinger

I don't have a problem with this idea, but its prudent to remember "free" is rarely, if ever, free. Companies/Corporations will add the cost of the "free" earplugs (& will likely greatly inflate the real cost). Likely will raise prices on this and other products accordingly, thus having other customers subsidize the "free" service. From the article, I'm assuming the City/County/State isn't offering to assume/provide for any costs. Personally, I think bringing your own earplugs is probably more economical (they're pennies per pair, after all). I'm all for preserving hearing; just not totally convinced this is the best way to accomplish the goal.

Cathy Hanson
Cathy Hanson

Knowing what I know now, I wish I had worn them at all the concerts I went to at your age. Van Halen six people from the stage made my ears ring for two days.

Cy Thao
Cy Thao

How about the city also order the bar to give everyone a free drink while they're at it.

Craig Viknx
Craig Viknx

how about bibs to, or a stuffed sock in his mouth to shut him up

Tanner Slade Olson
Tanner Slade Olson

Would be nice if they just had them behind the bar in case you forget a pair. If you want em fine if not, fine as well.

Chandra Fossen
Chandra Fossen

And no, it's common sense for people that frequent loud venues.. if you go out a lot, it's like insurance for yourself

Chandra Fossen
Chandra Fossen

Holy shit people they are provided FREE to the venue and FREE to the patrons of the bar.. NOT difficult to understand

Greg Rasmusson
Greg Rasmusson

Why don't you try doing something about the street maintenance plowing and salting the streets it has been getting worse every year?

Raina Conner
Raina Conner

I seriously have never ever seen anyone wear earplugs at a bar.... I am not from MN - is this a MN thing?

Daniel Wolter
Daniel Wolter

No wonder no one takes Minneapolis city government seriously.

Anthony Haas
Anthony Haas

I wish I would have in the late 80's through the 90's at 1st Ave, The Cabooze and the 400 bar. I might be able to hear today :)

Christina Holland
Christina Holland

Yes, please!!! I always forget to bring ear plugs- and the amount of loud live shows I go to, I'm worried about my hearing!! I'd like to enjoying hearing stuff when I'm old too.. and if you read the article, there is no charge to bars, they will be donated. So, hurry up, this is a great idea for all us "pussies" who care about our ears. If you're so tough, then don't wear them.

Jack Yahalo
Jack Yahalo

expenses on the bar owners? did you not READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE????

mrleeahenderson
mrleeahenderson

Really, this is a priority for Frey?  How about we find a way to speed up the process of fixing potholes, address crime and transportation issues, boost education spending, etc. etc. etc....  Are we going to start asking outdoor concerts/events to provide sunglasses? Dear lord. Why are we legislating this?  

Chandra Fossen
Chandra Fossen

I didn't know taking care of your body is considered pussy these days... ridiculous

Bigg Punn
Bigg Punn

if America gets anymore pussy I honestly have to leave this country its already went overboard years ago...wtf is wrong with people

Padre Pienbique
Padre Pienbique

"Minneapolis to go through your refrigerator and make sure you're buying enough green leafy vegetables.'

Jack Yahalo
Jack Yahalo

For not reading the article, but still needing to post uninformed assumptions, you win the premature poster of the day award! Congrats!

Donna Hatcher
Donna Hatcher

good idea if the decibels cannot be kept reasonable....

Eric VonSchliesing
Eric VonSchliesing

I called Frey yesterday. The businesses are throwing the FREE ear plugs away, provided by 3M. I initially thought it was another example of the Govt telling businesses how to operate, but as long as they are provided to the businesses, I think it's acceptable to have them go to the people who want them vs throwing them away.

Patrick Toth
Patrick Toth

And in turn raise drink prices or the cover charge? Jesus, bring your own. Same as it ever was.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Balls are too masculine for the city pages readers

donoblivious
donoblivious

A lot of places hand them out for free if you hit the "guest services" area.  Some bars will charge a buck for earplugs.  This ordinance would require bars that received free earplugs (from hearing damage awareness campaigns) to hand them out for free.


Look at all the assholes commenting about how stupid this is and realize that the proposed ordinance is just asking bars to hand out the earplugs they get for free, for free.  Point at them and laugh.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Everyone here is now dumber from your comments

donoblivious
donoblivious

It's a "care about my hearing" thing.  My earplugs are subtle, maybe you didn't notice them :)

donoblivious
donoblivious

WHAT?!?  I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


Tinnitus is a bitch.  You can act all big and tough and not give a shit about your ears but no matter hour "tough" you think you are you can't prevent hearing loss simply through force of will.

donoblivious
donoblivious

"Reasonable" decibels are a lot lower than most folks want at a concert.  I, as a former "sound guy", have pushed them too high in the past and I'm sorry for that.  I highly recommend a pair of Etymotic ER-20: they knock off 12db in a "music friendly" way that doesn't sound so muffled like normal earplugs.  They aren't nearly as protective as the disposables this ordinance would hand out, but if you're willing to invest $12 they'll bring most concerts down to a safe'ish level without impacting your enjoyment.

donoblivious
donoblivious

That's exactly what this is.


Bar gets earplugs for free

Bar offers free earplugs to patrons

If bar can't get free earplugs bar no longer has to offer free earplugs


Bar can go back to charging $1 for earplugs if they'd like

donoblivious
donoblivious

They don't raise prices for this.  Most places that don't hand them out for free charge a buck or two.  The only thing this ordinance changes is *if* the bar gets the earplugs for free from some program they have to hand them out for free.  If they don't want to hand out free earplugs (that they got for free) they can just keep buying their own earplugs and charging for them.


This doesn't raise your drink price.  This doesn't raise your cover charge.  If you never use the service it has absolutely no effect on you.  Why the fuck are you bitching about this?

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Pointing and laughing at you is way better. Stop voting because you clearly don't get it.

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