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The Daily Princetonian PRINCETON, N.J. (U-WIRE) -- Princeton University Music Professor Peter Jeffery is suing the Smashing Pumpkins, as well as a host of other organizations, for alleged damage inflicted on his hearing at a rock concert he attended two years ago. Because Jeffery prefers Gregorian chants and folk music, he had never attended a rock concert, said his attorney, Anthony Wallace. As a result, he did not expect the decibel intensity he experienced when he took his 12-year-old son to a Smashing Pumpkins show on January 25, 1997. Jeffery alleges that his hearing was permanently damaged and that he now suffers from tenitis, a condition resulting in a constant ringing in his left ear, Wallace said. Jeffery filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Smashing Pumpkins, their label Virgin Records and the two opening bands, Fountains of Wayne and The Frogs. The lawsuit is also directed at the New Haven Coliseum, where the concert was held, the city of New Haven, Conn., itself and the concert promoter, Metropolitan Entertainment Co. According to Wallace, Jeffery took his son and a friend of his son's to the concert under the impression that there was a parent room where he could wait outside. Once there, he discovered that the "parent room" was being used as a dressing room for Fountains of Wayne, Wallace said. Wallace said Jeffery decided to go into the concert and tell his son that he would wait for him outside. He purchased a ticket and entered the concert after putting in the ear plugs he had brought with him to the arena. On his way out, Wallace said, Jeffery experienced a sharp pain in his left ear and dizziness throughout the night. His doctor explained that Jeffery had suffered hearing loss and was diagnosed with tenitis, which he will have for the rest of his life, Wallace said. Wallace added that the volume of the concert may not affect all people the same way. "As you get older your ears can't take the pounding," he said. To illustrate the danger of such loud sounds, Wallace cited Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, which recommend against exposure to more than 85 decibels of noise during eight hours in the work place. "Every five decibels you go over cuts into the time you can withstand [the sound]. The concert was approximately 125 decibels," Wallace said. According to OSHA regulations, hearing could be impaired by such intense sound after 8 1/2 to 20 minutes. The ear-plug manufacturer is also targeted in the lawsuit. "The ear plugs were purchased from a catalog. They were touted as protection against loud music," Wallace said. Because of the nature of his job, Jeffery needs precise hearing and fears that his work and research will be affected, according to Wallace. He is asking for monetary damages but Wallace said what he really wants "is to send a message out there to the youth of America and their parents that the danger of hearing loss is real. We do choose to listen, but does a 14-year-old understand the danger that lurks in a concert? They don't know." Wallace suggested changes to concerts, including a warning on the ticket and a greater awareness of the problem in the music industry. Atlantic Records, Fountains of Wayne's label, declined to comment. The other defendants were not available for comment yesterday.

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