TURN IT DOWN: Chris Thomas has been cut from the Ipswich RSL Concert band after raising concerns about the noise level in their practice venue.
TURN IT DOWN: Chris Thomas has been cut from the Ipswich RSL Concert band after raising concerns about the noise level in their practice venue. Rob Williams

Wulkuraka trombonist quits RSL band because of loud music

CHRIS Thomas loves nothing better than belting out big-band sounds on his trombone - but he is not about to risk his hearing for it.

The Wulkuraka musician, a member of the RSL Youth and Community Band for four years, said he was forced to leave the group as he believed he was being exposed to unsafe sound levels.

For almost 10 years the band has gathered at the RSL Memorial Hall for its weekly, three-hour practice sessions.

But Mr Thomas said the space was not properly insulated to protect band members from noise-induced hearing loss.

The 49-year-old said he became aware of the problem after recent practice sessions had left him with a ringing in his ears, hours after practice.

"It's an occupational hazard," he said.

"I love loud music, but there is a difference been loud music and music that is damaging your eardrums."

Mr Thomas said he had raised the issue with the band's director but instead of having it immediately fixed, was forced to resign.

He said band rehearsals had never been monitored with a sound meter and as a result, he had refused to attend practice until the levels were regularly checked.

Band director Bill Redpath said while Mr Thomas had been a member of the group for years, his complaint about the sound was only made a few weeks ago.

Mr Redpath said they had organised a committee meeting with Mr Thomas to discuss his issue but the trombonist had failed to attend.

"Because of his concern, though, we plan to hang drapes around the hall and put carpets on the floor as soon as funds become available," Mr Redpath said.

The 66-year-old said he been made aware that Mr Thomas recently underwent an ear test where the results showed he had no damage to his hearing.

He said Workplace, Health and Safety inspected the room yesterday and had deemed the environment to be safe sound-wise.



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