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Deaf threat to musicians

Thursday May 1st, 2014

Professional musicians face a massively increased risk of losing their hearing, a study shows today.

They also face a big risk of developing tinnitus because of their work, according to German researchers.

The researchers say musicians at all levels should get protective ear devices.

This should apply to rock bands and to orchestras and to any performances using amplification, they say.

The findings are reported in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The research involved the health insurance records of some seven million Germans, including 2,227 professional musicians.

During four years, some 284,000 people suffered severe hearing loss, including 238 professional musicians. Doctors and academic musicians worked together on the project involving the Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, and the University of Bremen, Bremen.

Led by Professor Gunter Kreutz, the researchers say: "Our data suggest that in professional musicians the risks of music induced hearing loss outweigh the potential benefits for hearing ability.

"Given the number of professional musicians and the severity of the outcome, leading to occupational disability and severe loss of quality of life, hearing loss is of high public health importance."

Incidence and relative risk of hearing disorders in professional musicians Occupational and Environmental Medicine 1 May 2014; doi 10.1136/oemed-2013-102172 [abstract]

Tags: Europe | General Health | Hearing

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