The hearing of symphony orchestra musicians

Scand Audiol. 1983;12(4):257-64. doi: 10.3109/01050398309044429.


The question has recently been raised as to whether the performance of symphony orchestra music involves a risk of sustaining hearing impairment. The following investigation presents a population study of 417 musicians, of whom 123 were investigated twice, at an interval of 6 years. Median values of screened tone thresholds were compared with a reference material, according to Spoor & Passchier-Vermeer (1969). The tone thresholds measured did not differ from the reference values although the actual sound exposure in some situations exceeded the permitted sound levels applied to industrial noise. We suggest that the sound exposure criteria for industrial noise are not valid when discussing such sounds as are produced by acoustic instruments in a symphonic environment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Female
  • Hearing
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Music*
  • Noise, Occupational
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk
  • Sweden