H&M clothing is modestly priced, but is the price worth the pain? Employee and visitor complaints about loud music fall on deaf ears.
I spoke with a half-dozen employees. Several revealed that H&M receives more than a dozen complaints weekly from visitors to the women’s department about decibel abuse. H&M apparently believes that young women are stimulated to make large purchase as a result of excessively loud background music and will not lower the sound. Employees describe the pounding sounds as exhausting, “but there is nothing we can do about it.”
H&M music drives away visitors with tinnitus – typically older women that H&M couldn’t care less about. According to Stansberry Research, the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health studied people 65 and older living in areas with ambient aircraft noise. They found that every 10-decibel increase in noise corresponded with a 3.5% increase in their likelihood of being admitted to a hospital due to cardiovascular disease. Walking into H&M is definitely a shock to the auditory senses.
The typical female buyer is unlikely to suffer long-term hearing loss during a quick shopping visit. But employees cannot hide. Why should clothing store employees be subjected to potential hearing damage as a condition of keeping their jobs?
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommend adults limit workplace sound exposure to no more than 85 A-weighted decibels (dBA) for eight hours. That’s equivalent to a garbage disposal or blender operating about three feet away. – Reuters
Oddly, music levels on a separate floor for men, babies and children’s clothes are lower, suggesting that H&M is purposely using loud music to target twenty-to-forty plus female buyers.
Connecticut could soon impose a ban on excessive sound levels at public film screenings. The state legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee is considering a bill that will ban the showing of any film or trailer that exceeds 85 decibels. Perhaps shopping malls and clothing stores will eventually get the message.