Noise and Hearing Loss in Musicians

Actsafe asked the University of British Columbia to help investigate several questions related to the noise-related health and safety of musicians and other workers potentially exposed to loud music that fall under their mandate. These questions were:

1. How much noise are musicians exposed to?
a. How do we define noise?
b. What kinds of regulations are there for the noise at music venues?
c. How loud are music venues?

2. Hearing loss in musicians: Is there a problem?
a. How well do classical musicians hear?
b. What about rock musicians?
c. What about other people who work around music, like bar and club staff?
d. What factors can increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss in musicians?

3. What do we recommend that musicians and other entertainment professionals do to protect their hearing?
a. Changes to the environment or behaviours
b. Hearing protection devices

A comprehensive literature search was performed using several scientific literature databases, and the references of gathered articles were also searched by hand for completeness. Please refer to Appendix 1 for further details about the search methodology. Appendix 2 contains tabular information on all of the papers that were reviewed, and includes Table 1 (Epidemiology), Table 2 (Exposure Assessment), Table 3 (Disorders Other Than Noise-Induced Hearing Loss), Table 4 (Controls and Preventive Measures), and Table 5 (Papers not used for this review, but may be of interest to the reader).

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Prepared by SOEH

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