Because of their continuous exposure to loud noise, musicians are often at a high risk of experiencing hearing loss. That is why many musicians tend to use ear plugs or similar devices to avoid long-term hearing damage. But, musicians from one orchestra – the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Australia – are lucky enough to have an advanced program that pays special attention to their protection from hearing loss.
Here some details about the Queensland Symphony Orchestra hearing conservation program.
Musicians and Hearing Damage
Whether you play in a loud rock band or a symphony orchestra doesn’t make much of a difference – you still put yourself at a higher risk of hearing loss. That’s the short conclusion of a 2014 study published in the BMJ journal. The researchers found that the risk of experiencing noise-induced hearing loss was four times higher in professional musicians than other people.
Out of 2,227 musicians that participated in the study, 238 reported some sort of hearing loss – whether it was caused by noise, problems in the inner ear, or ringing in the ears.
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Hearing Conservation Program
In an effort to protect their members’ hearing, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra implemented a study-based program. The program used advanced analyses of sound dynamics to determine how musicians are affected by noise.
The researchers explored how the orchestra layout, acoustic screens, and musicians’ seating change noise levels and potential hearing damage. They also found that the musicians’ awareness about hearing loss and sound exposure is one of the key factors for hearing loss prevention. Thus, the program included continuous training and education of orchestra members.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra hearing conservation program teaches us a lot about sound exposure among musicians. Hopefully, the success of this program will instruct more colleges and orchestras to include hearing conservation trainings in their activities.