Noise-induced hearing loss and orchestral musicians

Arch Otolaryngol. 1981 Dec;107(12):761-4. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1981.00790480037010.


Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is well reported among devotees of rock 'n' roll music, but less attention has been focused on players of orchestral music. Sound pressure levels have been recorded from within orchestras during performances, and audiometry has been carried out on orchestral musicians. Short-lasting peaks of sound of high amplitude were found to occur, and some players had audiometric changes consistent with NIHL. However, in practice, there seemed to be no threat to the players' continued livelihood, although the additive effect of presbyacusis in later life poses a potential problem. The difficulties of prevention of NIHL and the attenuation of the high sound levels of orchestras do not seem to be completely soluble.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*