Musicians Risk Their Hearing
Millions of music lovers would not contemplate life without their music. However, even more so than their avid listeners, musicians risk their hearing when exposed to loud levels of music for long periods of time.
An American study among 134 rock and jazz musicians found that 74 percent of them had hearing problems, including hearing loss, the ringing or buzzing in the ears of tinnitus, the hypersensitivity to external sounds known as hyperacusis, etc. The aim of this study was to assess hearing and hearing disorders among rock/jazz musicians. One hundred and thirty-nine (43 women and 96 men) musicians participated.
Hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis were most common, and the latter two were found significantly more frequently than in different reference populations. Hyperacusis, and the combination of both hyperacusis and tinnitus, were found to be significantly more frequent among women than among men. Hearing loss and tinnitus were significantly more common among men than among women.
Another American study compared the hearing ability of musicians and non-musicians in a group of 18 participants. The study found the group of musicians affected to a greater extent than the non-musicians. Four in nine musicians suffered from hearing loss greater than 30 dB.
Tinnitus significantly affects musicians as well as music lovers. A study by Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers, H.E.A.R. indicated that 86 percent of musicians and concert goers are affected by ringing and buzzing sounds. It is hardly surprising, considering that music venues reach noise levels of 115-120 dB with sound peaks of 130-140 dB.
Adapted from: www.hear-it.org, “Musicians Risk Their Hearing.”October 10, 2006.
Sources: “Assessment of hearing and hearing disorders in rock/jazz musicians”, International journal of audiology and H.E.A.R., Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers, www.hearnet.com