Yes on Hearing Conservation for Marching Bands College marching band members showed no evidence of standard threshold shift or persistent notched audiograms—either of which may indicate noise-induced hearing loss—in a three-year study of rehearsal sound levels and students’ hearing test results. The study, published in the June 2013 issue of the American Journal of Audiology, still recommends ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   December 01, 2013
Yes on Hearing Conservation for Marching Bands
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Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   December 01, 2013
Yes on Hearing Conservation for Marching Bands
The ASHA Leader, December 2013, Vol. 18, 36. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.18122013.36
The ASHA Leader, December 2013, Vol. 18, 36. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.18122013.36
College marching band members showed no evidence of standard threshold shift or persistent notched audiograms—either of which may indicate noise-induced hearing loss—in a three-year study of rehearsal sound levels and students’ hearing test results. The study, published in the June 2013 issue of the American Journal of Audiology, still recommends hearing conservation programs for college musicians, given the high sound-level exposure typical of their lengthy rehearsals.
Researchers led by Su-Hyun Jin at the University of Texas–Austin sought to examine the risk for noise-induced hearing loss in university marching band members, and to outline a hearing conservation program for marching bands. To do so, researchers recorded sound levels during band rehearsals and measured 350 musicians’ audiometric hearing thresholds and transient otoacoustic emission over a three-year period. They also provided musician’s earplugs and hearing loss information to the students. They tested the hearing thresholds of 348 other college students as a partial control.
The study found no significant differences in hearing thresholds between the two groups. During initial testing, more marching band members than control students showed apparent high-frequency notches. But in follow-up hearing tests for band members in a subsequent year, almost all the notches disappeared. The authors noted the band members had no persistent standard threshold shift across tests.
Because accepted hearing measurement procedures were not always precise enough to reliably detect early NIHL in marching band members, the study authors recommend that signs of NIHL be sought in repeated measurements compared to baseline audiograms rather than in a single measure.
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December 2013
Volume 18, Issue 12