French Horn Players at Risk of Hearing Loss
Professional French horn players in danger of developing noise-induced hearing loss
From Science News 9/24/2013
Professional French horn players may need to seriously consider adopting effective strategies to prevent noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). A new study published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) found further evidence that French horn players are one of the most at-risk groups of developing NIHL among professional orchestral musicians.
“Using both conservative and lenient criteria for hearing loss and correcting for age, we found that between 11 percent and 22 percent of the participants showed some form of hearing loss typical of NIHL,” said study investigator Ian O’Brien, MPhil, MAudSA, CCP, a doctoral degree candidate at the University of Sydney and a professional French horn player. “Looking at those aged 40 years or younger and also correcting for age, the number of horn players with an apparent hearing loss rose to between 17 percent and 33 percent.”
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney at the 2010 annual gathering of the International Horn Society in Brisbane, Australia, examined the hearing of 144 French horn players. The investigators performed audiometric assessments and measured sound levels and hearing thresholds to determine if the horn players were at risk of harmful sound exposure.
O’Brien and his colleagues also administered a questionnaire to investigate the horn players’ safety practices and attitudes about hearing conservation.
“We were surprised to find that only 18 percent of participants reported using any form of hearing protection,” said lead investigator Wayne Wilson, PhD, MAudSA, CCP, a senior lecturer in audiology at the University of Queensland. “Even within that 18 percent, the use of hearing protection appears to be inadequate with 81 percent of these participants reporting their frequency of use as ‘sometimes’ and 50 percent reporting they use generic, foam or other inferior forms of protection.”
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), when individuals are exposed to loud noise over a long period of time, symptoms of NIHL will increase gradually. The NIDCD recommends preventing NIHL by regularly using hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs. Designed specifically for musicians such as French horn players, these devices are commercially available.
Read the rest of the story at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924122835.htm
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