A 2014 study in Occupational & Environmental Medicine reports that musicians face nearly four times greater risk of developing hearing loss than the rest of the public, and are 57 percent more likely to develop tinnitus (ringing in the ears) due to exposure to loud music. The researchers reviewed the medical records of three million Germans aged 19 to 66, including 2,227 professional musicians. Among nearly 284,000 cases of hearing loss overall, 238 professional musicians experienced some degree of hearing loss, even after controlling for hearing loss that could be caused by aging, not noise exposure. Read a HealthDay news story and a Medical Daily story on the study.
So what can be done to help prevent hearing loss? The researchers called for an increase in the use of hearing protectors as well as the development of concert hall designs that can shield musicians from the sound they produce.
In fact, in 2014, the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation (NOMC&AF) hosted Save New Orleans Sounds, a free series of events to inform musicians, sound engineers, and disc jockeys about hearing loss prevention. Their aim was to teach musicians how to protect their hearing from noise-induced hearing loss. Learn more about the NOMC&AF’s efforts to practice safe sounds.