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 ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 68  |  Page : 40--46

Evaluation of the noise exposure of symphonic orchestra musicians


1 Department of Environmental Health, Research Centre on Environment and Health, Allied Health Sciences School of Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
2 Department of Environmental Health, National Health Institute, Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Porto, Portugal

Correspondence Address:
Matilde Alexandra Rodrigues
Research Centre on Environment and Health, Allied Health Sciences School of Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Rua Valente Perfeito, No 322, 4400-330, Vila Nova de Gaia
Portugal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.127854

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For musicians, the impact of noise exposure is not yet fully characterized. Some inconsistencies can be found in the methodology used to evaluate noise exposure. This study aims to analyze the noise exposure of musicians in a symphonic orchestra to understand their risk for hearing loss, applying the methodology proposed by ISO 9612:2009. Noise levels were monitored among musicians during the rehearsal of eight different repertoires. Test subjects were selected according to their instrument and position in the orchestra. Participants wore noise dosimeters throughout the rehearsals. A sound meter was used to analyze the exposure of the conductor. The results showed that musicians are exposed to high noise levels that can damage hearing. Brass, woodwind and percussion and timpani musicians were exposed to noise levels in excess of the upper exposure action level of 85 dB (A), while the other instrumental groups had a lower exposure action level of 80 dB (A). Percussion musicians were exposed to high peak noise levels of 135 dB (C). Sound levels varied by instrument, repertoire and position. Octave frequency analyses showed differences among musicians. This study suggests that musicians are at risk for hearing loss. There is a need for more effective guidelines applicable to all countries, which should define standardized procedures for determining musician noise exposure and should allow exposure level normalization to the year, including different repertoires.






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