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Associations between hearing and psychosocial working conditions in rock/jazz musicians

Kim Kahari, Mats Eklof, Leif Sandsjo, Gunilla Zachau, Claes Moller
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 18 Number 3: Page 98 (September 2003)

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Abstract: A study on the assessment of hearing and hearing disorders in rock/jazz musicians concluded that 74% of the musicians had some kind of disorder. The main hearing disorders found were pure-tone hearing loss, tinnitus (an acoustic sensation of sounds), hyperacusis (a hypersensitivity to low or moderate sound levels), and distortion (music sounds out of tune). Affected musicians often were able to give the exact time of the first appearance of the hearing disorders, which often was associated with a period of excessive sound exposure, high workload, or some form of emotional stress. The aim of this study was to explore associations between psychosocial work conditions, mental load, and hearing disorders in rock/jazz musicians. A total of 139 (43 women and 96 men) voluntarily participating rock/jazz musicians answered a questionnaire on psychosocial work conditions and mental load. The data were correlated to hearing and sex. The median age was 35 years in the women and 37 years in the men. Results showed that rock/jazz musicians do not generally experience themselves as stressed at work. The influence of working conditions is good, and the work consists mainly of attractive tasks. In men, hyperacusis was associated with higher psychological demands, greater difficulty in relaxing after work, higher stress during individual preparation, not getting enough sleep, and higher perceived sound level. In women, tinnitus was associated with greater difficulty in relaxing after work and less energy during musical performances. No strong correlation between psychosocial parameters and hearing loss was found. Positive and negative effects of stress on hearing are discussed.

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