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Hearing Assessment of Classical Orchestral Musicians


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Kähäri, K.
Journal Title: Scandanavian Audiology
Date Published: 2001
Language: English
Category: Hearing Loss
Key Words: pure tone audiometry hearing loss classical orchestral musician scandanavian
Full Citation: Kähäri, K. R., P. A. Hellström, et al. Hearing Assessment of Classical Orchestral Musicians. Scandinavian Audiology 30, no. 1 (2001): 13-23.
Full Abstract: Pure-tone audiometry was performed on 140 classical orchestral musicians employed at the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Gothenburg Opera in Sweden. This report is based on the results from hearing threshold measurements, presented as median audiograms according to gender, age group and instrument group. The results did not show severe hearing losses that could be attributed to exposure to musical noise. However, the study reflects the subjects' present hearing ability status and does not give an answer to the question of future hearing dysfunction. Female musicians were shown to have significantly better hearing thresholds in the high-frequency area than did male musicians. Furthermore, the median pure-tone hearing thresholds for the male musicians displayed a notch configuration at 6 kHz in the left ear, similar to that of noise-induced hearing loss. A small, but in general not significant, difference was detected when comparing the median hearing thresholds between each instrument group. Percussion and woodwind players displayed slightly worse hearing thresholds than did other musicians. Players of large string instruments had the best hearing threshold values. When comparing age groups and gender it was noted that the median hearing thresholds were stable and within 20 dB HL up to the age group of 40-49 years for both females and males.