Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Fight Song on Mute: University Pep Band Member Noise Dosages and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Knowledge

Evan Edwards
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 2: Page 72 (June 2019)

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Abstract: The occurrence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be detrimental to the future careers of student musicians. Few studies have focused on the noise exposure of student musicians within an indoor pep band as they performed during university basketball games. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to assess: (a) the status of noise dosages acquired via personal noise dosimeters from two pep band players as they performed over nine men's basketball games spanning three seasons, (b) perceived effectiveness of earplugs on the primary participants, and (c) the status of all band members' (n=72) knowledge of hearing loss and hearing loss prevention. The noise dosages accrued by primary participants in each game over the three seasons greatly exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) recommendation regarding safe daily noise exposure time. Participants occasionally reported that the earplugs did not provide sufficient protection from noise or contributed to communication and intonation issues. Questionnaire responses from band members demonstrated a mild deficiency in hearing loss knowledge. Two-thirds of pep band members reported that they did not always wear hearing protection at pep band functions. Exceeding standard noise dosage recommendations without hearing protection potentially leaves these individuals at a high risk for permanent hearing loss.

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