Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Protecting Musicians from Hearing Damage: A Review of Evidence-based Research

Michael Santucci
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 24 Number 3: Page 103 (September 2009)

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Abstract: The great irony of being a musician is that the sound produced--the very essence of the musical experience--represents a long-term health risk to the artist. This overview examines the lack of sufficient evidence-based studies on this at-risk population, which is particularly important in light of the low level of compliance to hearing-loss prevention programs among musicians. The review explores the number of musicians at risk, the five most common types of hearing loss affecting them, and the necessary components of a hearing-loss prevention program, including measurement, education, and acoustic modifications to the work environment. Hearing protection devices designed specifically for performing musicians are explored in depth, including the proper use of spectrum-neutral high-fidelity earplugs with in-ear monitoring systems as tools to control sound levels without detracting from the quality of musical performance.

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