NIOSH Highlights Risk of Hearing Disorders among Workers in the Music Industry
A new NIOSH “Workplace Solutions” document provides recommendations to reduce the risk of hearing disorders among musicians and others in the music industry. This group, which includes orchestra and band members, music teachers, audio engineers, and others, is at risk for developing permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing disorders from prolonged exposure to loud music and sounds, the agency says. NIOSH’s recommendations are based on a series of studies and collaborations with musicians and music schools. “Research has shown that sound levels on stage at rock concerts or during orchestral performances often exceed NIOSH’s recommended exposure limit of 85 dBA,” said NIOSH Research Engineer Chuck Kardous, MS, PE. “It’s important for musicians to be aware of the risk for permanent hearing damage and take steps, such as those outlined in this recent Workplace Solutions document, to protect themselves.” To mitigate potential hearing damage for musicians, the new NIOSH document urges employers, music venue operators, schools and colleges, and others to consider implementing a hearing conservation program in workplaces that have noise levels that exceed 85 dBA. The agency also recommends conducting regular sound-level assessments; increasing distances between individuals and instruments when feasible; and encouraging participation in educational and awareness campaigns on music-induced hearing loss. NIOSH recommends that musicians wear hearing protection when appropriate; play music at lower levels during rehearsals when possible; and have their hearing evaluated annually by an audiologist. View the new document on the NIOSH website.
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