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Noise Exposure and Hearing Loss in Classical Orchestra Musicians: A Five-Year Follow-Up

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posted on 2024-03-21, 18:39 authored by Alberto Behar, Marshall Chasin, Steve Mosher, Mohammad Abdoli-Eramaki, Frank RussoFrank Russo

Introduction:

This study is a follow-up to prior research from our group that attempts to relate noise exposure and hearing thresholds in active performing musicians of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

Materials and Methods:

Exposures obtained in early 2010 were compared to exposures obtained in early 2017 (the present study). In addition, audiometric thresholds obtained in early 2012 were compared to thresholds obtained in early 2017 (the present study). This collection of measurements presents an opportunity to observe the regularities in the patterns of exposure as well as threshold changes that may be expected in active orchestra musicians over a 5-year span.

Results:

The pattern of noise exposure across instrument groups, which was consistent over the two time points, reveals highest exposures among brass, percussion/basses, and woodwinds. However, the average noise exposure across groups and time was consistently below 85 dBA, which suggests no occupational hazard. These observations were corroborated by audiometric thresholds, which were generally (a) in the normal range and (b) unchanged in the 5-year period between measurements.

Conclusion:

Because exposure levels were consistently below 85 dBA and changes in audiometric thresholds were minimal, we conclude that musicians experienced little-to-no risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

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