Association between sound exposure and hearing problems in freelance non-classical musicians
This study investigates the association between sound exposure and hearing problems (hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and distortion) in professional non-classical musicians in Denmark. Knowledge about the topic is sparse. This study will therefore contribute with new knowledge useful in identifying situations that are especially hearing damaging for musicians and where preventative measures with great advantage can be implemented.
It is estimated that 800.000 people in Denmark have hearing problems. Musicians are while playing exposed to high sound levels placing them at even higher risk of hearing impairment, tinnitus, hyperacusis and/or distortion. However, studies regarding sound exposure and hearing problems in non-classical musicians are sparse compared to the field of classical music. Therefore, we set out to investigate the association between sound exposure and hearing problems (hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and distortion) in professional non-classical musicians in Denmark.
- To measure binaural sound exposure levels during solitary practice, band practice and concerts
- To estimate the prevalence of hearing problems (hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and distortion) in professional non-classical musicians
- To measure the difference in Otoacoustic Emissions before and after exposure to music during solitary practice, band practice and concerts
The study objectives are examined through questionnaires, sound level measurements and a hearing test called Otoacoustic Emissions (more specifically Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions, DPOAE, and Transient-Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions, TEOAE). All measurements are carried out during solitary practice, band practice and concerts in order to evaluate any differences between the three formats.
Description of the cohort
In this cross-sectional study, 79 professional non-classical musicians between the ages of 20 and 80 have been included from all over Denmark. Measurements have been carried out from January to April 2018 at different venues and rehearsal rooms in Denmark. Inclusion criteria are professional performing musicians of the non-classical genre with no known hearing loss due to other reasons than noise or music. Participants have been recruited by email sent to all members of the Danish Musicians Union (DMF), by advertising about the project in the magazine “MUSIKEREN” and lastly by talking about the project at national campaign events focusing on hearing preservation such as “Pas på Hørelsen”.
In addition to the data on the 79 musicians, data from a previous questionnaire survey “Project Musicians Health II” filled in by 563 non-classical musicians is employed.
Data and biological material
Questionnaires are used to give an estimate of the entire life time exposure, to assess how different genres and instrument groups are exposed, and lastly, to assess if the musicians have any hearing problems. Sound level measurements are used to get an exact estimate of the sound exposure and how it varies from eg. instrument to instrument and genre to genre. Otoacoustic Emissions (both DPOAE and TEOAE) have been evaluated before and after the musicians play, with the purpose of assessing music induced hearing loss in the musicians.
Collaborating researchers and departments
Department of Audiology, Odense University Hospital
- Agnete Torp Hoffmann-Petersen, medical student
- Associate professor Jesper Hvass Schmidt, PhD, MD
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Odense University Hospital
- Jesper Bælum, MD, Dr.Med.Sc
Department of Clinical Immunology, Odense University Hospital
- Helene Martina Paarup, PhD, MD
Odense Patient Data Explorative Network (OPEN)
- Associate professor Sören Möller, Master of Science in Mathematics, PhD