In a fit of sense, our own Occupational Safety and Health Administration has generally refrained from trying to protect symphony orchestra members from the noise of the bass trombones, trumpets and tympanies in their midst. Not so in the European Union, where a newly promulgated rule “reduces the allowable sound exposure in the European orchestral workplace from the present 90 decibels to 85. The problem is, a symphony orchestra playing full-out can easily reach 96 to 98 decibels, and certain brass and percussion instruments have registered 130 to 140 at close range.” (James R. Oestreich, “The Shushing of the Symphony”, New York Times, Jan. 11)(via Arthur Silber). See Mar. 8-10, 2002 (bagpipes); Dec. 22-25, 2000 (military bands). More: “Mindles H. Dreck” at Asymmetrical Information has further commentary and a BBC link.