Band students receive “sound“ advice to prevent hearing loss
Marching bands like the one at Gaither High School in Tampa, FL, spend hours practicing. Their goal is to rally the fans at football games but at what price?
A recent study finds 26 percent of high school seniors who play in a band suffer some degree of hearing loss.
Dr. Rise Padeni, an Audiologist at All Children's Hospital, uses a decibel reader to measure the noise level around the musicians. According to Padeni, "The louder it gets the shorter the time they should be exposed to it before damage sets [in] or permanent hearing loss." Among the loudest, the brass section, decibel readings quickly reach 100. The drum section experiences the highest decibel readings, topping 104 decibels. Padeni notes that, "At 104 decibels, the safety level is only about a minute of exposure, that's pretty loud."
Even Band Director Brian Dell's says his own hearing has been affected, ".I was a drummer and I didn't take care of it as I should have." That's why he warns his students to take precautions, noting, "I tell them not to do stupid stuff, don't play in someone's ear if they're next to you. If indoors a lot, try not to be, and tell them to wear ear plugs."
Dr. Padeni also encourages ear plugs, noting that it is an easy way to avoid hearing damage. However, contrary to Padeni and Dell's advice, we found only one musician wearing ear plugs. Drummer TJ Matos has experienced ringing in the ears after practice, and Dr. Padeni warns, "Ringing tinnitus in the ear can be a danger sign of temporary hearing loss or perhaps permanent hearing loss."
The best advice for parents is to ensure their children protect their hearing when in the vicinity of motorcycles, jet skis, video arcades, fireworks, computer games and even loud action movies and to remember this "sound" advice - the louder the noise, the shorter the amount of time it takes to damage the ear drums.
Source: TampaBays10.com, “School Marching Bands and Hearing Loss”