Over the years I have become aware that one of the most sensitive preferences people have is their preference of volume. Hearing is a gift from God that I receive with joy and take the stewardship of hearing very seriously. About ten percent of those who talk to me say, “Pastor Kent, I don’t attend MCA services, because I just can’t hear anything. Your team runs the sound too quietly.” Another ten percent say, “Pastor Kent, I don’t attend services, because it is way too loud.” The other 80 percent are somewhere between these two poles.
I have made an entry level study about sound, hearing, and healthy hearing. We seek to have everything we do at MCA be healthy for the whole person, including one’s hearing.
From my non-professional understanding, hearing danger is a mix of three things, volume, frequency, and time. Certain sounds at certain volumes destroy hearing immediately. Other sounds can be listened to all day without any damage at all.
In our LIVE and North Edge venues, we run our sound at 90 to 95 dB. In Greatest Hits we have a few seconds of each evening that are a bit louder, due to the natural volume of the trumpet. Life Community and Video Cafe are run between 85 and 90 dB.
OSHA has set Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure guidelines. The are as follows:
OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound level
8 – 90dB
6 – 92dB
4 – 95dB
3 – 97dB
2 – 100dB
1.5 – 102dB
1 – 105dB
.5 – 110dB
.25 or less – 115dB
In my years of testing our dB measurements, MCA’s service volumes are well within the safe range for many hours of listening. One could listen for four or five more hours and still have volume to spare.
The Churchaudio.blogspot.com reveals the following graph for church worship services. With 124 churches reporting, you can see the dB’s that they choose for their services.
I find it interesting that those who think MCA is run too loudly, often go to theaters where the volume is significantly louder, work around table saws that are significantly louder, and run airboats, airplanes, lawnmowers, and many other devices that have a much higher dB level than our worship services do.