Musician Hearing Disorders 

Condition 

Slow onset with gradual progression: Tinnitus, sound distortion, diplacusis (hearing same notes at different pitches), hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to everyday sounds), hearing loss:

  • Musicians and those in music industry are at risk due to repetitive exposures to loud sounds.

  • Extends to other music professionals such as audio engineers, producers, crew members, music students, DJs.

  • Can significantly impair communication and Quality of Life as well as career and ability to maintain job.

Cause: CDC (NIOSH)* investigation​ 

Recommended Exposure Limits (REL) for sound exposures (measured in decibels using A-weighting frequency-dBA) : 8 hrs for 85 dBA, 60 mins for 94 dBA, 15 mins for 100 dBA. Risk of unsafe exposures:

  • Percussionists, flute/piccolo, brass, cymbals are ~ 95 dBA; 52% in college band, marching band, concert bands exceed NIOSH REL.

  • Music clubs: 95 - 107 dBA.

  • On stage in rock and roll concerts: 90-110 dBA.

Prevention

  • Musician education and awareness of risks.

  • Hearing conservation program including audiometric testing.

  • Sound level assessments and noise control designs for rehearsal rooms.

  • Hearing protection solutions designed specifically for musicians.

  • Reducing sound output in In-Ear monitors to listen to vocals and stage instruments.

  • Encouraging hearing breaks - ears typically need ~18 hrs to recover to normal hearing.

* CDC: Center for Disease Control, NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

*© 2020 by Audition Technology