Noise levels in fitness classes are still too high: evidence from 1997-1998 and 2009-2011

Elizabeth Francis Beach*, Valerie Nie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Fitness instructors routinely use high music volumes thatmay be harmful to hearing. This study assessed noise levels during 35 low-intensity and 65 high-intensity fitness classes in 1997-1998 and 2009-2011. Questionnaires examined instructors' and clients' preferred music volumes and whether they found loud music "stressful" or "motivating."Noise levels in 1997-1998 and 2009-2011 were similar, frequently exceeding 90 dB(A). Although noise levels in low-intensity classes dropped from 88.9 to 85.6 dB(A), they remained high for high-intensity classes, averaging 93.1 dB(A). In 2009-2011, instructors preferred significantly higher volumes than clients for high-intensity classes. In both time periods, about 85% of instructors found loud music motivating, whereas about one fifth of clients found it stressful. The results suggest that noise exposure from fitness classes, particularly high-intensity classes, continues to pose a potential risk to hearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Environmental and Occupational Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • aerobics
  • fitness
  • hearing loss
  • motivational music
  • noise


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