Abstract: Studies on the effect of occupational noise have been widely performed for occupations such as construction workers, workers of factories or even musicians and workers of nightclubs. However, studies on the acoustics of church bells are very scarce and usually reported in languages other than English. In Spain, although the tradition of bell ringers is progressively getting lost, some bell ringers that continue transmitting the tradition remain. Church bells create sound with a large sound pressure level that can be heard from a great distance. However, despite the characteristics of the sound of church bells, bell ringers do not present symptoms of occupational hearing loss unlike musicians and construction workers. To determine the effects of the sound of the church bells on bell ringers, in this paper, an acoustic study of the church bells and a physiological study of the hearing abilities of bell ringers. Results show sound pressure levels reaching 120 dB inside the bell tower. The resulting hearing loss in bell ringers is small considering the great intensity of the sound produced by the bells. This is likely due to the short amount of time that bell ringers are exposed to the sound even if it reaches high sound pressure levels.
Keywords: audiometry; acoustics; bell ringers; church bells; Valencia cathedral
© International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019)
© Campaners de la Catedral de València (2019)