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October 16, 2017

Noise-induced hearing loss common among professional musicians

Professional musicians experience hearing loss, tinnitus and ear pain, an Iranian study finds.

Noise-induced hearing loss common among professional musicians

Professional musicians are exposed to loud sounds to a larger extend than many others. Due to this exposure to high-intensity sounds, musicians are at greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Noise exposure is one of the major causes of a sensorineural hearing loss.

An Iranian study among professional musicians has shown that 42.2% had audiometric notches in one ear (unilateral hearing loss) and 19.2% had audiometric notches in both ears (bilateral hearing loss). The notches were more frequent in musicians with more work experience than in those with less work experience.

The frequency of notches in one or both ears was 46.3% in men and 23.8% in women.

Only 2% of the participants used hearing protection devices.

Violin players

The study said that the frequency of hearing loss in the left ear among violin players was higher than expected, namely 41.7% versus 27.5%.

Tinnitus and ear pain

The study also found that 51% experienced tinnitus after performances and 28% experienced ear pain during the performances.

About the study

The study was conducted among 125 Iranian traditional and/or pop musicians with at least five years of professional work. The study consisted of a questionnaire and a clinical examination of the hearing threshold levels.

Each individual occupational noise exposure was calculated by multiplying the number of their years of exposure by the number of hours of exposure per week.

The study “Noise induced hearing loss among professional musicians” was published in the journal of Occupational health in 2017.

Source: Journal of Occupational Health, Vol 59, 2017

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