Health Club Noise

Health clubs throughout the United States are very noisy places. Studies have found that 80 percent of health clubs consistently play music which exceeds 105 dBA over one-hour periods. Sixty percent of health clubs use music which exceeds 110 dBA. Such extreme noise poses grave health dangers.

Such loud music typically occurs in weight rooms, aerobics classes, water aerobics classes, spinning classes. Health clubs appear to believe that loud music is necessary to “pump up” exercisers. Also, many swimmers at health clubs are subjected to loud music (probably to relieve the boredom of lifeguards).


By blasting loud music, health clubs are creating a health hazard. Excessive noise is associated with heart disease, aggressive behavior, hearing loss, ringing of the ears, stress, chronic fatigue, and sleep deprivation.
Another source of irritating unnecessary noise at many health clubs is the “Suitmate,” which extracts water from swimming suits. These noise-making devices are now a fixture in thousands of American locker rooms.

The firm’s web site states that “the Extractor Corporation was founded in 1983 for the express purpose of developing, manufacturing and marketing a completely new product, which was a swimsuit water extractor.” Developing the product took two years, and the first “Suitmate” was inflicted on the American public in December 1985: “Since the sale of the first unit, almost twenty thousand units have been sold and can be found in all fifty of the United States and over forty-eight countries. It is found in health and sports clubs, YMCAs, YWCAs, colleges and universities, graduate schools and high schools, Jewish Community Centers, wellness centers, hotels and motels, and any place where a swimming pool or spa might be found.”

These electric water-extraction machines make an incredible amount of noise. Nowadays, you can’t be in a locker room without one of these noise-making machines creating an awful sound every few minutes. They give people headaches. And the noise is completely unnecessary. People can easily wring their swimsuits with their bare hands. Years ago, locker rooms were equipped with non-electric squeegee machines. You simply rolled your swimsuit through the machine and it removed the water–without making any noise whatsoever. Oftentimes, the low-tech approach is the best and quietest approach.

The YMCA and the YWCA should be ashamed of themselves. Every new “Y” facility now boasts these obnoxious noise-makers. Y’s have become very noisy places, with blasting, thumping music and electronic gizmos throughout the building. Noisemaking is not consistent with the Y’s Christian mission. Christianity promotes peace, quiet, and serenity–not irritating, useless noise.
Health clubs need to be consistent with their mission of promoting health. They should not be promoting a health hazard.