UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008

LESSONS FROM MUSIC

TEXAS CENTER FOR MUSIC
AND MEDICINE

CENTER HELPS PREVENT
Hearing Loss
Awareness

ellen rossetti

The Texas Center for Music and Medicine, founded
at UNT in 1999, is dedicated to studying, treating
and preventing musicians' health problems.
Researchers and clinicians within the UNT System,
including faculty from the UNT College of Music,
the UNT College of Arts and Sciences and the
UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, conduct
interdisciplinary research and provide clinical
treatment to musicians in the North Texas region.
The Texas Center for Music and Medicine has
conducted research on several issues important
to musicians' health, including easing strain on
small-handed pianists by using smaller keyboards,
measuring mouthpiece pressure to reduce long-

term negative effects for people who play wind
instruments, and helping musicians deal with the
mental and emotional pressures of the profession.
For information and videos about hearing
protection, visit www. unt.edu/untresearch.
As a music professor at Western Illinois University in the mid-1990s, John Murphy continued his own
education by taking an electronic music class to learn about digital recording. One day, his professor played
tones of gradually increasing frequency, eventually causing the undergraduates around him to wince and
cover their ears.
But Murphy didn't hear anything.
As it turned out, the saxophonist had a condition common to professional musicians - the 4k notch,
meaning he had a dramatic drop in hearing sensitivity. Years of playing in jazz, rock and Latin bands and
going to events with amplified music had taken a toll. The episode woke him up, he says, to the serious risk
of noise-induced hearing loss in musicians.
"There is no tool more crucial for a musician than hearing," says Murphy, now a University of North
Texas professor of music who uses musicians' earplugs whenever he plays or listens to loud music and
encourages students to do the same. "If the training of musicians is degrading students' ability to hear well,
then something has to change."
A PERVASIVE PROBLEM
Kris Chesky has heard this story too often from people across the country. As director of education and
research at the Texas Center for Music and Medicine at UNT, Chesky has made it his mission to educate
people about the risk of noise-induced hearing loss in musicians, preparing them for longer careers
and healthier lives.

j 2008 UNT RESEARCH

Kris Chesky, director of education and research at UNT's Texas Center for
Music and Medicine, has made it a priority to educate musicians and others
about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss.

University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/. Accessed September 19, 2014.