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Published On: Fri, May 9th, 2014

Professional musicians are almost four times more likely to lose their hearing

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Guitar-and-keyboardsProfessional musicians are almost four times more likely to lose their hearing, new research has revealed.

And performing professionally, whether in an orchestra or rock band, can make you 57 per cent more likely to develop tinnitus – an incessant ringing in the ears – the research showed.

A study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, revealed that there was a higher chance of hearing problems in people regularly exposed to loud noise.

Researchers looked at health data from seven million Germans between 2004 and 2008.

Among the three million people who were aged 19 to 66 and in employment, there were 2,227 musicians.

Over four years, just under 284,000 cases of hearing loss were registered, slightly more in men than women.

It was revealed that 238 of the people who suffered hearing loss were professional musicians.

Professional players were discovered to be almost four times as likely to have some form of deafness.

Previous studies found that long term exposure to industrial noise can cause hearing damage.

However this is the first study to look at the effects of hearing damage on professional musicians.

The results could ring true for musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne and Phil Collins, both of whom admit to having hearing problems.

Experts are urging musicians to use earplugs whenever they are playing loud music in a bid to reduce the risk of hearing damage.

The authors, Professor Gunter Kreutz, from Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg in Germany and Dr Wolfgang Ahrens, from the University of Bremen in Germany, wrote: ‘Our data suggest that in professional musicians the risks of music-induced hearing loss outweigh the potential benefits for hearing ability, as reported by other researchers.

‘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 in this group is of high public health importance.’




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