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October 10, 2006

Musicians risk their hearing

Studies have shown hearing loss to be widespread among musicians.

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.

Three out of four musicians with hearing disorders

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.

Musicians versus non-musicians

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.

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,

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