Bagpipes and Side Drums

That bagpipes, side drums, and bugles are hazardous probably comes as no particular surprise to anyone who isn’t a fan of, say, pipe-and-drum music. Let’s face it, you’ve probably thought it yourself, right? Well, the British Army conducted a study a couple years ago, and determined – scientifically – that bagpipes and side drums really are dangerous – if only to those playing them.

First released (I believe) last month, in response to a Freedom of Information request, I just now managed to get a copy of the report – technically, and rather verbosely, known as the “Army Medical Directorate Environmental Monitoring Team Noise Assessment: Bagpipes and Side Drums”. It’s nine pages cover the testing methodology, the results of noise-level analysis done under a variety of conditions, and set out the maximum allowable exposure under occupational safety laws (and military regulations) for afflicted, er, affected musicians.

In case you’re wondering, for bagpipes, this runs from 24 minutes – outdoors – to as little as six minutes in a ceramic-tiled gents’ toilet. (No, really.) (Good god, people playing the bagpipes in a toilet? And you thought people who strike up conversations at the urinals were annoying?) Theoretically, this 24-minute (per day) exposure limit would put something of a damper on, say, funeral processions, parades…

It concludes, not at all surprisingly, by noting that “[p]ersonal hearing protection may be feasible, and should be investigated.” British taxpayers’ money hard at work, there!

The nine-page, 6.4MB report can be downloaded here (Adobe PDF file). Enjoy…

Published in: Geekiness, General | on February 20th, 2008| Comments Off on Bagpipes and Side Drums

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