Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Noise and the classical musician.

British Medical Journal 1992; 305 doi: (Published 19 December 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;305:1561
  1. D. McBride,
  2. F. Gill,
  3. D. Proops,
  4. M. Harrington,
  5. K. Gardiner,
  6. C. Attwell
  1. Institute of Occupational Health, University of Birmingham.


    OBJECTIVES--To test the hypothesis that noise exposure may cause hearing loss in classical musicians. DESIGN--Comparison of hearing levels between two risk groups identified during the study by measuring sound levels. SETTING--Symphony orchestra and occupational health department in the west Midlands. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Hearing level as measured by clinical pure tone audiometry. RESULTS--Trumpet and piccolo players received a noise dose of 160% and 124%, respectively, over mean levels during part of the study. Comparison of the hearing levels of 18 woodwind and brass musicians with 18 string musicians matched for age and sex did not show a significant difference in hearing, the mean difference in the hearing levels at the high (2, 4, and 8 KHz) audiometric frequencies being 1.02 dB (95% confidence interval -2.39 to 4.43). CONCLUSIONS--This study showed that there is a potential for occupational hearing loss in classical orchestral musicians.