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Sound Pressure Levels Experienced by the High School Band Director

Douglas T. Owens
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 3: Page 109 (September 2004)

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Abstract: Portable noise dosimeters were used to determine the levels of noise exposure experienced by high school band directors. In addition, sound reverberation times were measured to determine the appropriateness of existing acoustic conditions for the band rehearsal environment. A total of 63 sound pressure measurements were taken during the rehearsals of 10 high school bands located in cities along the Front Range of Colorado. Single sample t-tests and effect size calculations were employed to compare the sound pressure levels of all band rehearsals with the industrial noise standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the effect of room environmental factors on the sound pressure levels. While conducting high school ensembles, 60% of participating band directors experienced sound pressure levels at or exceeding 90 dBA. These levels and the mean noise doses and 8- hour projected noise doses observed were within the OSHA standards for industrial noise exposure, but exceeded the industrial noise exposure standards set by ACGIH and NIOSH. Multiple regression analysis performed on the room volume (cubic feet), the level of acoustic treatment, and the mean reverberation time were found to predict 77.8% of the variance in sound pressure levels in this study.

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