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15/08/2017

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Classical Musicians at extreme risk of hearing loss.

Classical Musicians at extreme risk of hearing loss.

**PLEASE SHARE WITH FELLOW MUSICIANS 

HEARING HEALTH IS IMPORTANT **

Classical musicians are exposed to high levels of noise for five to six hours daily and are at risk of hearing loss.

In this post I want to make you aware of some of the risks associated with being a classical musician or music lover and there is a “hearing test” below to see how good your ears are.


In the European Union, the EU directive sets a daily noise exposure limit value of 87 dB in the workplace. If noise levels cannot be adequately reduced, hearing protection must be available and regular hearing tests must be conducted to safeguard the employees' hearing health. However a flute or the percussion instruments produce as much as 95 dB of noise. Classical musicians are exposed to high levels of noise for five to six hours daily. One recent study among classical musicians found that 15 percent of the musicians in the study suffered from permanent tinnitus, in comparison to 2 percent among the general population.

Below you can play some sample tones at different frequencies. Click on each one to test your "Hearing Age". As we age, we lose the extreme ends of the hearing spectrum so for example people under 50 years of age on average can hear 12,000 Hz. And 15,000 Hz can be heard by people under 40. The frequency of a mosquito - just under 18000Hz is usually inaudible to people of 30 years of age. WARNING - some people find this test uncomfortable and if you have a cat or a dog it might send them a bit crazy - I would recommend trying this test at half volume to start and then repeat it at a higher volume if you wish. Also this test works better with headphones or good quality speakers.


10 kHz

12 kHz

14 kHz

15 kHz

16 kHz

17 kHz

18 kHz

19 kHz

20 kHz

21 kHz

22 kHz




So now I’ve finished scaring you - you might ask so what can I do? If you are a pianist - normal practice range is about a safe 60-70db but if you have an electric piano or even use headphones, obviously you can turn down the volume.


Etymotic ear plugs are developed specifically for musicians which reduce the sound by 20-dB equally across the spectrum of hearing whilst preserving the richness of music
Etymotic Earplugs

For those who play with others, either in orchestras or Rock bands for example, you might think - well I can’t wear ear plugs - I need to hear the other musicians. However there are devices called etymotic ear plugs - developed specifically for musicians which reduce the sound by 20-dB equally across the spectrum of hearing whilst preserving the richness of music. They are available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


Leave a comment below how you did on the hearing test and if you have any concerns about hearing loss as a musician or music lover.

1 comment:

  1. Another key finding is that folate may improve tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Folate is readily found in fish and fresh, leafy greens, as well as some beans. Can headphones cause Tinnitus

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