Arts/entertainment/recreational Hearing loss

Professional musicians face higher risk of hearing loss: study

Reprints

Washington – Professional musicians have a 4 times greater risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss than the general public, according to a new study conducted by researchers in Germany.

Researchers from the University of Bremen and the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS used an insurance database to examine 284,000 cases of hearing loss – 238 of which involved professional musicians – reported during a four-year period. They found that the musicians, in addition to being more likely to experience noise-induced hearing loss, were 57 percent more likely to develop ringing in the ears – known as tinnitus.

The researchers stated that although sudden, very loud noises (such as an explosion) can cause hearing loss, repeated exposure to loud noises – including music – also may be a factor. Among their suggested preventive measures for musicians: education to raise awareness of the effects of loud music while rehearsing and during concerts, and the use of hearing protection such as in-ear devices or sound-protecting shields.

The study was published online April 30 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.