Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Orchestra Pit Sound Level Measurements in Broadway Shows

Angela Babin
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 14 Number 4: Page 204 (December 1999)

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Abstract: Sound level measurements were conducted 17 times in the orchestra pits of 14 different Broadway shows in response to musicians' complaints to Local 802, American Federation of Musicians. The Broadway shows studied had orchestras ranging from 17 to 29 musicians who played a variety of instruments, including wind, brass, percussion, string, and electric instruments. There were 13 (76%) performances with sound levels above those recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a four-hour time period, and ten (59%) for performances with sound levels above those recommended by NIOSH for a two-hour time period. Two shows exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) action level for two-hour exposure, and three shows exceeded the OSHA ceiling level. Safety precautions and recommendations included the adoption of a hearing conservation program including hearing screening, training and education, and free personal protective equipment. Site-specific recommendations included acoustical padding, baffles, reduction of the volume of the mix, changes in seating in the orchestra pit, and the use of personal protective equipment

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