Noise levels in pubs, clubs and cinemas

Most people expect pubs or clubs where dancing takes place to be noisy and complaint from patrons about noise levels in such venues is rare.

However, complaints about noise levels in cinemas appear to be increasing - especially with regard to commercials and trailers (rather than the film itself).

Such noise cannot be a common law nuisance (since to be such the sound must be caused on one premises but affect another) and will almost certainly not constitute a statutory nuisance.

Health and Safety at Work legislation contains provisions that are designed to protect those affected by others at work and therefore apply to this situation.

However, since the health effect of noise relates to the total noise dose over a while it is almost never the case that the noise dose experienced whilst out at a particular club can be held to be, in itself, responsible for any adverse health effect.

These considerations do not apply to those working in such clubs who may well experience a high total noise dose over, say, a week and who, if they are worried about the noise levels they experience can contact our health and safety team.

Further information is available in our Health and Safety section.

Commercials and trailers

With regard to commercials and trailers, it appears that this problem is recognised and there is even a British Standard dealing with it (BS 5550-7.4.2 2000).

It says:

"Owing to their competitive nature, many motion picture commercials and trailers make sustained use of the highest recording level possible......"

and

"This standard is intended to promote sensible control and limitation of the sound recording level of commercials and trailers, so that a better match between the sound levels of commercials, trailers and main features is maintained......"

However, non-compliance with a British Standard is not an offence.

If you are concerned about these issues, you are, of course, advised to complain to the club or cinema involved since it is in this way that they will know what the wishes of their customers.