Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Hearing Loss: A Primer for the Performing Arts

Douglas T. Owens
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 23 Number 4: Page 147 (December 2008)

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Abstract: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a major health problem that affects an estimated 16.1% of American adults, but for musicians, the onset of noise-induced, or any type of hearing loss, can be a career-changing event. The potential for dangerous sound pressure levels in musical environments has been documented in numerous studies, with exposures in both short and long durations shown to be harmful. Yet, in theory, NIHL is completely preventable. This review discusses basic information concerning the hearing mechanism and NIHL, audiometry, standards, protective strategies, and terminology. It aims to provide a general understanding of these processes as they relate to musicians and other performing artists.

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