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Protecting Your Hearing Health
A NASM – PAMA Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
- Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.
- Your hearing can be permanently damaged by loud sounds, including music. Technically, this is called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Such danger is constant.
- Noise-induced hearing loss is largely preventable. You must avoid overexposure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time.
- The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms.
- Sounds over 85 dB (your typical vacuum cleaner) in intensity pose the greatest risk to your hearing.
- Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration.
- Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:
- 85 dB (vacuum cleaner, MP3 player at 1/3 volume) – 8 hours
- 90 dB (blender, hair dryer) – 2 hours
- 94 dB (MP3 player at 1/2 volume) – 1 hour
- 100 dB (MP3 player at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 minutes
- 110 dB (rock concert, power tools) – 2 minutes
- 120 dB (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate
- Certain behaviors (controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, turning down the volume) reduce your risk of hearing loss.
- Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds. See chart above.
- The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health.
- Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future.
- Since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily basis.
- It is important to follow basic hearing health guidelines.
- It is also important to study this issue and learn more.
- If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional.
- If you are concerned about your hearing health in relationship to your program of study, consult Dr. Mark Williams.
Protecting Your Hearing Health: Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss - NASM/PAMA: November 2011, ed. Mark Williams.