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Hearing Loss From Classical Music

Nov 05, 2013 Hearing Loss From Classical Music

Hearing loss caused by music isn't just from loud rock music or thumping electronic dance beats. Any loud music – even as part of an orchestra – can damage a musician’s hearing. Read more...

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is an impairment that is easily understood and easily prevented, but many people are still ignorant of how loud noise affects their hearing, or they simply choose not to do anything about it. And they suffer the consequences – tinnitus (ringing in the ears), diminished hearing, or complete hearing loss.

Many Workers Are Protected

Many people are exposed to noises that can cause NIHL – and this often happens at work. Construction, farm and factory workers are often subjected to loud noises as part of their jobs, and federal guidelines have tried to help put strategies in place to ensure that workers in these fields have their hearing protected when on the job.

Musicians Need To Protect Their Hearing

But there are other people who work in loud environments for a living that we never consider. Like orchestra musicians. Yes, that’s right. Think about going to the orchestra. The music is beautiful and melodic. And it’s also very loud. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland and The University of Sydney examined the hearing of 144 French horn players, with some surprising and disturbing results.

Horn Players Are At Risk For Hearing Loss

The first troubling thing the researchers found was that among their study group of 144 French horn players, anywhere from 17 to 33 percent of these musicians under the age of 40 suffered from hearing loss. That is a high number of people to have damaged hearing at such a young age.

Musicians Don’t Take Care Of Their Ears

The researchers asked the musicians to fill out questionnaires about their safety practices and attitudes about protecting their hearing, and found that less than 20 percent of French horn players reported using any hearing protection at all. And of that small number, 81 percent said they only use hearing protection ‘sometimes’, and half of them were using inadequate hearing protection anyway.

Ear Plugs, Muffs and Monitors Do Help

When people are exposed to loud sounds over extended periods of time (like all professional musicians), the effects of NIHL increase gradually over time. Hearing protection such as ear monitors, ear plugs or ear muffs have been specifically designed for musicians, and a trained audiologist can help musicians find the right hearing protection for them.

Get Fitted By An Audiologist

This research reinforces the need for appropriate hearing protection for musicians – recreational and professional – and anybody who is subjected to loud noises for long periods of time, whether for work or play.

One of our trained audiologists can work with you to determine what your current hearing level is, what type of hearing protection would work best for you, and can get you fitted for the best hearing protection to save your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss.


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