Which I usually wear on the Tube. However a while ago I used them in an unlikely situation – the cinema. I went to see Avengers Assemble, and from the trailers realised that the volume was way beyond my comfort level. I kept the earplugs in for the entire film and could still hear everything, although chewing popcorn was rather distracting. At one point I used a (probably quite unreliable) decibel level meter app on my iPhone, which measured 85-90 dB throughout, with peaks of 100 fairly regularly. I did write an email to the cinema chain enquiring about their policy on loudness levels, but I only received a reply informing me that it has been passed on to management. It happened again when I went to see Prometheus and this time I went to speak to an employee who assured me that they would turn it down. However I didn’t detect any difference, so again I emailed customer services, this time a bit more peevishly. I decided to mention that I was acoustician and this prompted a much quicker response! Apparently they always “play all films at recommended level correct for the size of the auditorium” but are investigating the matter further. Most people reading this will probably think that I am acting like a whiney old lady, but hearing damage is irreparable and more common than you would think, and as someone obsessed with sound I intend to keep my ears functioning perfectly as long as I can.
(In case you wondered, the British Standards Institution has recommended that sound in the cinema not exceed 82 dB, which in my opinion is still rather excessive, but not nearly as damaging as the levels I experienced.)