Study Finds Professional Musicians More Likely To Suffer Hearing Loss
A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has concluded that professional musicians are four times as likely to develop noise induced hearing loss than the general population. Using data from three health insurance providers in Germany, researchers identified 2,227 professional musicians amongst a study group of nearly 3 million, finding that 238 of them were affected by hearing loss. Results also showed that the musicians were at greater risk of developing tinnitus even after factors such as age, sex and population density were taken into account.
Some previous works had suggested that exposure to loud music could serve to increase sensitivity to a full range of sound, something the authors of the study, from the universities of Bremen and Oldenburg and the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research contest, saying; “Given the number of professional musicians and the severity of the outcome, leading to occupational disability and severe loss of quality of life, hearing loss is of high public health importance.”
The provision of protective in-ear devices and sound shields between different sections of an orchestra are two of the recommendations made to reduce risks in future. A number of prominent rock stars have publicly discussed hearing loss and tinnitus in the past including Pete Townsend, Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young and Phil Collins.
You can view ‘Incidence and relative risk of hearing disorders in professional musicians’ here.