Monday, January 20, 2020

The Significant Risks of Hearing Loss Among Musicians

woman standing watching LED light musical instrument
Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

Thomas Brutnell
is an established presence in the Missouri entrepreneurial community who consults in the agricultural biotechnology sphere and serves as the vice president of Gateway Biotechnology, Inc. With the latter firm, Thomas Brutnell is focused on combating hearing disorders through innovative, plant-based therapeutics.

One major hearing loss issue is caused by exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time. This is particularly prevalent among those in the music business; musicians including Neil Young and Coldplay’s Chris Martin have reported developing tinnitus over the course of their careers.

As reported in an AARP article, a German study examining 7 million health insurance records from 2004 to 2008 found that musicians were four times more likely to experience noise-induced hearing loss than workers in any other profession.

The reason for this has to do with sheer volume, since musicians are subject to longer exposure of sounds over 85 decibels, a noise level that is similar to what one would experience with busy street traffic. Anything over 85 decibels is considered risky, while the pain threshold is at 125 decibels. Average music concerts are 115 decibels, or slightly below the sound of an ambulance or jackhammer. In some arenas, sound can reach 140 decibels, which exceeds levels associated with a jet engine.

Unfortunately, it does not take long for the negative effects to accumulate for musicians. 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division data points to damage occurring after only three minutes of exposure to sound at the 115 decibel level.