1. marchingbands

Marching Bands. Step 2

What do you need to do?

  • Assume that you will have to take action to reduce the exposure of members of marching bands to excessive noise
  • You can control, reduce and monitor exposure to noise
  • Many of the controls are simple and cost-effective
  • Wherever possible, reduce the volume at which instruments are played
  • Consider the need for hearing protection where noise levels cannot be reduced by other means

Steps you can take to reduce exposure to noise include:


  • Place directional brass at the front of the band – requires less volume from the players concerned to project their sound
  • Allow the maximum possible space around the bass drum and cymbals to allow natural dissipation of their sound

Band display:

  • When the aim is solely to entertain an audience, excessive volume is not needed
  • Use the dynamic range within a performance to reduce the risk of hearing damage
  • There is more information in Concert Halls and Theatres

Ceremonial parades:

  • To enable any marchers to keep in time with the music, a combination of parade format and personal hearing protection is likely to be needed

Parade format:

  • Place the band at the centre of a marching column to reduce the distance sound has to travel
  • Use more than one band, placed at intervals, if the marching column is particularly long
  • Adjust the format of a formal parade to reduce the distance between band and marchers

Information, instruction and training:

  • If employees understand the risks of noise exposure, they will be more likely to protect their own and their colleagues’ hearing.
  • Awareness is very important; it will inform the proper application of all the other risk reduction measures. People in the industry have to be made aware of the potential for permanent hearing damage associated with working in a high noise environment.
  • The role of middle management and supervisors in developing and applying a successful noise policy is important. Their training and instruction is a high priority.

You’ll find more detailed information in:

Personal hearing protection:

  • Use where adjustments to the parade format  do not eliminate risk
  • Routinely provide personal hearing protection for both performers of naturally louder instruments and those close to them
  • Use protection designed for musicians
  • Where the risk is beyond the control of the band, e.g. cannons and pyrotechnics, provide personal hearing protection for all performers
  • Find out more about¬†Personal hearing protection

Hearing health checks make sure people at risk are regularly monitored

You’ll find more detailed information in:

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