Cambridge Corn Exchange warning sign after UB40 'ear bleed' gig

UB40 at the Cambridge Corn Exchange Veteran reggae band UB40 played a sold-out gig in Cambridge last month

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A music venue is to put up a permanent sign warning people about high volume levels after a UB40 gig blamed for causing a woman's ear to bleed.

About 30 people left the band's Cambridge Corn Exchange concert last month due to the noise.

A venue spokesman said the availability of earplugs would also be raised at staff training, after a complaint that they were not clearly displayed.

The woman whose ear bled has since been refunded for her tickets.

Anna Webster, who has had a perforated ear drum since childhood, woke up with a bleeding ear hours after leaving the concert.

She said the bass was so loud it was "altering heart rhythms".

Cambridge Corn Exchange Smaller venues like the Cambridge Corn Exchange can produce louder concerts, an expert says

Dr Yujay Ramakrishnan, a ear, nose and throat specialist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, said Ms Webster's ear bleed was likely to have been triggered by the noise, but was not something many people would experience.

Venue health and safety rules

  • There is no specific legislation setting noise limits
  • The Health and Safety at Work Act and civil law duties relating to negligence reveal audiences need to be protected against and informed of the risk of damage to their hearing
  • The HSE says event equivalent continuous sound level in any part of the audience area should not exceed 107 dB (A), and the peak sound pressure level should not exceed 140 dB
  • Where it is likely to exceed 96 dB the audience should be advised of the risk to their hearing in advance

Source: Cambridge Corn Exchange / HSE Event Safety Guide (Second Edition)

Neil Jones from Cambridge City Council, which runs the Corn Exchange, said warning signs were already put up for performances that were expected to be particularly loud, but a permanent sign would cover every eventuality.

It will state that concert-goers should be warned of potentially high volume levels and that earplugs are available if people want them.

Mr Jones said there was no warning the UB40 gig was going to be especially loud. It is not known exactly how loud it was.

Other than the complaint by Ms Webster, Mr Jones said no-one else had formally complained to the venue or requested a refund because of the noise.

The warning sign is to go up on Sunday before a concert by Neil Finn.

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