Minneapolis clubs now must provide free earplugs

Categories: Gimme News
Concert_Heart_Erik_Hess.jpg
Photo by Erik Hess

Minneapolis has just made ear protection a basic right of its concert-going residents. Beginning Saturday, April 19, all bars and clubs that host live music are required to provide free earplugs rated to block 12 decibels. The ordinance was just passed by the Minneapolis City Council.

Plugs for this program will be offered free by a coalition of businesses -- Locally Grown, Globally Known, Miracle Ear, and 3M -- and are manufactured by 3M. Clubs are not required to use the 3M plugs, but must furnish some sort of free earplugs, according to the city.

See also:
Minneapolis might require bars to provide free earplugs


About 185 venues -- those with Class A and Class B liquor licenses and have live music, DJs, or other entertainment -- are affected by these new guidelines. It is believed to be the first ordinance of its kind in the U.S.

"Overall it's a good idea," says Joe Hinz, a student in the Audiology program at the U of M and a sound engineer who has worked at 7th St. Entry. "I've done sound in the Entry for a couple years. I'd measure the sound levels in the Entry, and they'd typically exceed 100 decibels. When you exceed 85, you're at risk for damaging your hearing. When people enter a venue like that, they should be cautious about protecting their hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss doesn't show up right away. You may have normal thresholds for many years before it shows up." (More on permissible dB ranges here.)

EARsoft_Neons_Dispenser_3_D.jpg
Look for these dispensers at Minneapolis clubs.

According to Locally Grown, Globally Known's Brian Felsen, the most common plugs 3M will provide through the program are 3M™ E-A-Rsoft™ Yellow Neons™, and they'll come in a dispenser like the one pictured above.

These changes will cost First Avenue about $4,000 in lost profits from the approximately 10,000 pairs they sell each year, per the Star Tribune. This cuts out the 50 cents to $1 charged for these earplugs at their member clubs, says First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz.

"We're already selling higher-end earplugs that are reusable for $15, if people want to have something a little bit better," Kranz says. "Throughout this process, no one has reached out to us to find out how many earplugs we use on a yearly basis. Usually there's more input from the businesses that it would affect. Just in the last 7 days, we've had over 10,000 people through our doors."

Gimme Noise will keep our ears to the ground on this story and see how things look when the rules roll out on April 19.

Here's the language for the ordinance:

364.115. Hearing protection devices. All Class A and Class B on-sale liquor, wine and beer licensees shall have and make available, free of charge, hearing protection devices to all patrons and employees. Such single-use earplugs must have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of at least twelve (12) decibels. 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 charge to all such establishments. The license official may develop reasonable rules regarding required signage or notification to patrons regarding the devices and their availability.
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121 comments
WhoCares
WhoCares

People are NOT being forced to WEAR ear plugs at shows. Don't be stupid. Venue's just now have to supply free ear plugs in case someone needs them. Which is a good thing. No need to make a big deal out of it.

Morgan Foster
Morgan Foster

When I go to loud places I always brought my own.

Banquesha
Banquesha

The pussification continues. 

Louie Lu Lettuce
Louie Lu Lettuce

So now when I'm dragged to a show and I dislike the music, I can plug my ears! Perfect!

Rip Robin
Rip Robin

Wouldn't it be easier to tell the bands you can't play your music above a certain level?

Jake Wood
Jake Wood

dumbest. shit. ever. NOONE cares about their FREAKING ears! if there gonna go to a show! I just looked at my friend and asked him: "hey, would you love to go see Mumford n Sons Plumbing n Heating (or whatever there name is) with earplugs and not HEAR A FREAKIN THING?!" ... u can guess his response ... I find this pathetic, smh

Kevin Hamilton
Kevin Hamilton

Boy I'm glad the city council is really tackling the tough issues.

Michael Parsakalleh
Michael Parsakalleh

Every show i have ever been to in the cities has been way too loud. All you hear is bass. Makes the whole band sound muddy and undefined. I have worn light db reducing ear plugs before. Makes the whole concert experience 100% better. Wish i would have remembered some at Tycho last week.

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

The earplugs are free, provided by 3m. Read the articles.

John Quast
John Quast

On a serious note, I will spend a good deal of money in the first club that puts "Mandatory ear plug surcharge" right on the ticket with the number for the city council office to call and complain.

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

David- you don't have to wear them. They're just available. Just like you don't HAVE to wipe your ass, but they provide toilet paper, anyway.

John Quast
John Quast

This is great. I remember all the times I bought tickets to a rock concert, thinking it would be a nice quiet place to get some reading done. Then I show up at the club and there's this band playing music really loud on stage! I know right? How would I ever have known I needed to bring earplugs to such a thing?

Eric Kilinski
Eric Kilinski

With all do respect, the club is nice, but the shit ya'll be playin..... I've had my imaginary earplugs the whole time. #wackassrappas'

Casey Noel Swanson
Casey Noel Swanson

Oh absolutely! Can't say how many times I've made ear plugs out of toilet paper because the venue didn't have ear plugs, or I had to pay upwards of $3 for them. I also honestly think some people might not even think about wearing them, especially if they're not common show go-ers. And lastly, with ear plugs the music sounds so much clearer, because they block out a lot of buzz and distortion. Great idea!

Ange Runnels
Ange Runnels

If I forget my drummer's earplugs, sure.

David Kay
David Kay

So the music is THAT bad now!??!

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Why don't you say you just don't like it that they are providing the ear plugs Christina LeClaire? If you don't want to use them, don't.

Ellen Harris
Ellen Harris

Um . . Ok, I know it sounds strange but I learned it from my brother, a musician . . . Try it sometime and you'll notice you hear the music sooo much more clearly. Just eliminates some of the buzz . . . The ear saving is a bonus but you'll hear every instrument and it's still plenty loud. IMHO

Jon Hale
Jon Hale

Alyssa Kiefer Uhhh yeah lol

Padre Pienbique
Padre Pienbique

Well that makes sense: $15 for advance tickets, $55 on dinner/drinks for two, $10 parking, $5/beer at the show, can't be bothered to bring your own 35 cent earplugs. I BLAME THE FUCKING VENUE!!!!!

Leah Andersen
Leah Andersen

I would! I always end of forgetting or losing mine!

Andy Roemhildt
Andy Roemhildt

Yall don't even know this happened cuz excision is about to throw down 150,000 watts of sound the 19th and it will be insane

Jodi Michelle
Jodi Michelle

I wear them at church ... it's so loud. I feel bad for the babies.

Nizhoni Chynna
Nizhoni Chynna

If you need them, you have no business being at the club!

Paul O'Regan
Paul O'Regan

Finally safety at its finest. As countless people get jumped and robbed downtown, at least we won't have to hear it

Jeff E Powers
Jeff E Powers

Nothings free guess what cover charge just went up.

Nick Walker
Nick Walker

There are earplugs that only block out the harmful levels! I'll see if I can find a link

Erin Wilson
Erin Wilson

Maybe if you need earplugs in a club, you shouldn't be in a club????

Jason Bistodeau
Jason Bistodeau

It costs like 12 bucks for a box of 244 earplugs. Even if private businesses weren't footing the bill for this, I think the clubs could shell out for a few boxes to keep under the sound board.

Jason Bistodeau
Jason Bistodeau

Yes I will. I already bring my own to the venues I go to anyhow. Now if i forget my nice ones, I can always ask for some - not that 99% of sound guys at clubs don't have a stash under the soundboard anyhow. I've asked on many occasions at many different places and they are always willing to hook me up with a pair.

WhoCares
WhoCares

This is by far one of the stupidest comments I've read so far. People as ignorant as yourself "have no business being at the club".

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