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Asthma Among Musicians in Australia: Is There a Difference Between Wind/Brass and Other Players?

Anita Fuhrmann, Suzanne Wijsman, Philip Weinstein, Darryl Poulsen, Peter Franklin
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 24 Number 4: Page 170 (December 2009)

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Abstract: Control of respiration is important in wind/brass instrument playing. Although respiratory diseases, such as asthma, may affect breathing control, little is known about the prevalence of asthma among wind and brass musicians. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of self-reported asthma between wind/brass musicians and non-wind/brass musicians through different stages of experience. A total of 1960 musicians completed a respiratory health questionnaire. The participants were categorized into the following five subgroups: primary students, secondary students, tertiary students, community musicians, and professional musicians. Chi-squared and logistic regression analyses were used to compare asthma prevalence and related health outcomes between wind/brass and non-wind/brass musicians. There were no significant differences in current asthma prevalence between the wind/brass and other musicians in any of the subgroups, apart from tertiary students in whom the prevalence of asthma and related outcomes appeared to be higher among wind/brass musicians. Asthma prevalence among musicians in our survey was similar to that in the overall population. The results suggest that having asthma does not significantly affect participation in music, the choice of instrument to learn (wind/brass or other), or progression to elite levels as a musician.

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