UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008 Page: 21
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W W W . n t . e d uu n t r e s e a r c h
laryngology at Harvard Medical School. "And most tragically, it is
preventable but also a slowly developing, subtle problem."
Musicians tend to accept noise-induced hearing loss as either
inevitable or non-existent, says Fligor, who has worked with Chesky
through his association with the National Hearing Conservation
"Both attitudes are problematic as they perpetuate the problem,"
Fligor says. "Dr. Chesky's work should combat both problematic
views by raising awareness and hopefully encouraging musicians to
do something about it by taking steps toward prevention."
EARPLUGS AND INTENSITY LEVELS
Many) audiologists and musicians recommend hearing protectors
to dilute the sound.
"To date, there's not one piece of research to document how
musicians respond to earplugs," Chesky says. "Do they cause you to
play louder, less sensitively, not as soft? What do they do to the
ability to perform? How do they feel? Can musicians hear themselves
better or worse? Can they hear the blending with other musicians
around them, which is critical?"
To answer these questions, Chesky has a grant from Etymotic
Research Inc. that is providing 600 pairs of musicians' earplugs.
Students fill out surveys while using them under experimental con-
ditions and after using them in routine activities.
But the first step to educating people about the potential risk
associated with music in an educational setting is disclosure,
Chesky says. In September 2007, he began tracking intensity levels
in four UNT rehearsal venues for 10 hours a day. So far, he has
collected data on more than 500 rehearsals of groups that include
UNT's nine lab bands, the Symphony Orchestra, the Wind
Symphony, Symphonic Band and Concert Band.
WHAT CAN BE I)ONE
Chesky recommended in the January 2008 issue of the Music
Educators Journal that all high school and college ensemble instruc-
tors across the nation know the intensity levels produced in their
ensembles and disclose the information to their students.
If the average intensity is too high, what can directors do?
Chesky says that high average levels are directly related to musical
dynamics. Increasing the percentage of time spent playing music at
soft to medium dynamic levels lowers the average intensity levels.
And in the end, an ensemble with a greater range and balance of
musical dynamics is a more musical group.
But for this to work, everyone needs to be educated and sup-
portive - from music directors to music competition judges to
audiences, he says.
"We want to encourage the whole community to think
about this." U
FACTS ABOUT NOISE-INDUCED
PFAR1NC I S
As many as 50 percent of musicians
have problems with hearing loss.
Risk of injury is based on a combination
of sound intensity and duration.
Listening to music, live or recorded, in
performance or rehearsal, can result in
significant exposure to high sound levels.
Hearing loss is cumulative: all sources
(24/7) of elevated sound levels contribute.
Permanent noise-induced hearing loss
Temporary noise-induced hearing loss is
reversible with adequate rest and
TIPS FOR SHORT-TERM
PRE, . rlON OF 1 LOSS
Listen to recorded music at moderate
Reduce exposure time to sound levels
above 85 decibels.
Reduce repeated or cumulative exposure.
Protect yourself from exposure to
hazardous sound environments.
Use ear protection in noisy environments.
Rest the ears between exposures to
TIPS FOR LONG-TERM
Get a baseline comprehensive audiolog-
Follow up with annual checkups.
Know the symptoms of noise-induced
Temporary threshold shifts
Ear discomfort after exposure to
Ringing and buzzing in the ears
Difficulty hearing in noisy
UNT RESEARCH 2008 2'
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008, periodical, 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/m1/21/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.