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Turn it Down: Reducing the Risk of Hearing Disorders Among Musicians

Categories: Hearing Loss, Sports and Entertainment


Have you ever gone to a concert or performance and found your ears ringing on the way home?  Imagine if that was your job and your ears were exposed regularly to such loud sound levels?  Orchestra players, music teachers, conductors, DJ’s, band members, singers, sound engineers, and many others may be exposed to dangerously high music levels as part of their work. Professional musicians work and practice in a variety of venues, ranging from large music halls, theatres, and arenas to smaller clubs or music rooms in schools and universities. Overexposure to sound, both in terms of intensity and duration, is common. Musicians value and need good hearing for their jobs, but many are not fully aware of the risks associated with exposure to potentially harmful sound levels or the options for reducing these exposures without compromising their performance abilities.

A Story of Impact….

Categories: Hearing Loss


It starts with an agency wanting to better protect its workers from hearing loss. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that conducts measurement research, develops technological standards and performs other important functions. NIST was upgrading the hearing conservation program for its 138 noise-exposed workers and wanted its criteria to be based on science. Current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations were being followed, but the medical officer questioned whether more could be done to protect worker hearing and needed evidence to support changes. NIST contacted the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) via the Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. NIOSH provided NIST with information and links to documents such as the NIOSH Practical Guide for Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss.

Collecting Data on Worker Hearing Loss: Epidemiology in Action

Categories: Epidemiology, Hearing Loss, Safety and Health Data

Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health.  This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Among older adults, it is third after high blood pressure and arthritis. Nearly 1 in 4 cases of hearing loss among workers is caused by exposures on the job. These exposures include loud noise and chemicals that can damage hearing, such as organic solvents, heavy metals and asphyxiants.

First, Do No Harm: Temporary Threshold Shift Screening Is Not Worth the Risk

Categories: Hearing Loss, Manufacturing


Recently, a study by Dr. Hanns Moshammer and colleagues on “The Early Prognosis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” garnered national media attention.[1] Their research, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, [2] recommended routine implementation of a temporary threshold shift (TTS) screening test to identify workers particularly at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) from occupational exposure to hazardous noise. NIHL is one of the most common work-related conditions in the United States. Susceptibility to NIHL varies across individuals, but unfortunately, no methods are available to predict risk for a particular worker.

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