Studies on the hearing of musicians in symphony orchestras have i

Studies on the hearing of musicians in symphony orchestras have indicated that their pure-tone hearing thresholds do not really deviate from that of

a non-exposed population (e.g. Kähäri et al. 2001a, b; Eaton and Gillis 2002; Obeling and beta-catenin inhibitor Poulsen 1999). It has been hypothesized that specific “musician characteristics” are responsible for this result: wanted sounds such as music could be less harmful than unwanted sounds such as industrial noise (Karlsson et al. 1983), or musicians perform relatively good on pure-tone audiometry because of a strong motivation and familiarity with detecting pure tones (Dowling and Harwood 1986). The musicians participated on a voluntary basis. We are aware that this could have produced Tipifarnib research buy a selection bias, probably towards the better hearing musicians, as musicians with hearing complaints may have been reluctant of having their hearing tested. Most musicians judged their hearing as good, though slightly worse than before (5 or 10 years ago). As far as we could check, the self selleck compound reports on medical history did not show deviations from the general population. When categorizing

the musicians’ pure-tone audiograms in absolute terms, almost half of the tested musicians’ ears can be categorized as normal. Among the larger groups (i.e. HS, LS, BW and WW), age seems to be more predictive for audiogram category than the instrument played: the percentage of brass-wind players, who had the lowest average age, was smallest in the sloping-loss category in contrast to the low-string players who had a relatively higher average age and were better represented in this category. Audiograms corrected for age and gender resulted in better threshold levels for low-string players, as compared to high-string Interleukin-3 receptor and wood-wind players. This could suggest an effect of exposure as low-string players are usually the least exposed group (Boasson 2002). It was unexpected that the more heavily exposed group (i.e. brass-wind players) did not show a larger increase in the thresholds than the other groups, except for the already

mentioned low-string players. All the instrument categories show an evenly profound notch in the hearing-thresholds at 6 kHz, a frequency that is known to be very sensitive for noise-induced hearing loss. When the relative audiometric group results were compared to that of the ISO 7029 (2000) population, musicians showed better hearing thresholds on all tested frequencies, except on 6 kHz. This supports the observation that professional musicians perform relatively good on pure-tone audiometry despite intense exposure. It is possible that this effect is able to mask early signs of NIHL and in that case screening techniques other than the pure-tone hearing thresholds could be more adequate for the detection of early stages of NIHL in professional musicians (e.g. Kähäri 2001b).

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