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Hearing in Classical Musicians


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Axelsson, A.
Journal Title: Acta Otolaryngologica
Date Published: 1981
Language: English
Category: Hearing Loss
Key Words: hearing loss classical orchestra pit
Full Citation: Axelsson, A., and F. Lindgren. Hearing in Classical Musicians. Acta Otolaryngologica 92, supplement 377 (1981): 174.
Full Abstract: Hearing tests in classical musicians have been few and results have been inconsistent. Sound level measurements from the Lyric Theater and Concert Hall in Gothenburg showed sound levels frequently exceeding hearing damaging levels. Hearing tests of male and female musicians from both theaters indicated a sensorineural high tone loss, consistent with an etiology of a noise-induced hearing loss. Males were worse than females; brasswind instruments exhibited the greatest loss. For individual instruments, French horn, trumpet, trombone, and bassoon showed an increase in risk of sensorineural hearing loss. In conclusion, sound level measurements and hearing tests indicate the ototraumatic character of classical music by orchestras on a stage or pit. The finding is serious with regard to the unusual dependence of musicians on their hearing sensitivity. Very long, detailed, and technical thesis. Twenty-two references.