Average sound levels and percentage of daily dose of noise exposure were measured in the practice rooms of a university school of music, with the primary objective of determining whether sound levels in student practice rooms were high enough to warrant concern for hearing conservation. A secondary objective was to determine whether any instrument group was at higher risk for music-induced hearing loss due to exposure levels. Students representing 4 instrument groups were tested: brass, wind, string and voice. Measurements were taken using a dosimeter or DoseBadge clipped to the shoulder during 40 students' individual practice sessions. These readings provided average exposure levels as well as the percentage of total allowed exposure (dose) obtained during the practice session. The mean measurement time for this study was 47 minutes (SD = 22). Mean sound levels measured averaged 87-95 dB(A) (SD = 3.5-5.9). Mean average levels for the brass players were significantly higher than other instrument groups. Using the mean duration of daily practice reported by the participants to estimate dose, 48% would exceed the allowable sound exposure. Implications for professional musicians are discussed, including the need for 12-hour breaks and the use of musicians' earplugs. The implementation of a Hearing Protection Policy in the School of Music will also be discussed.
Phillips, Susan L.; Mace, Sandra (2008) Sound level measurements in music practice rooms. In: Music Performance Research, Vol. 2, pp. 36-47. Available at https://openmusiclibrary.org/article/160481/.