Classical music brings a sense of beauty and pleasure, but extended exposure to loud environments may lead to hearing issues. While the damaging effects of high decibels in rock music are widely acknowledged, few associate the exquisite world of classical music with potential hearing damage.
A study conducted on a Norwegian classical orchestra revealed that a staggering 43.6% of performers suffered from severe hearing loss. The research also uncovered that 76.9% experienced tinnitus symptoms at various frequencies. This highlighted that the risk of hearing impairment is not exclusive to those in rock and pop music.
So, what's the reason behind this?
Marshall Chasin, Chief Audiologist at the Canadian Hearing Centre for Musicians, shed light on the mystery in an interview with the National Public Radio in the United States.
Prolonged Exposure to Musical Noise
Chasin explained that compared to rock musicians, classical performers often spend more time with their music: practicing 4-5 hours a day, teaching for 1-2 hours, and participating in 4-8 live performances weekly. In contrast, rock artists may only have one performance a week with shorter practice or play times.
While rock music may have higher decibels, the prolonged exposure to noise in classical musicians' environments results in greater hearing damage.
Work Environment Stress Affects Hearing Health
It's well-known that excessive stress can negatively impact health, including hearing health. Classical musicians often face significant job-related stress.
Chasin explained that classical musicians often lack the freedom to choose their repertoire. Additionally, they are more prone to friction with colleagues, such as discrepancies in playing rhythms. The younger generation's diminishing interest in traditional arts adds to the survival and economic pressures faced by many classical musicians.
In contrast, rock musicians typically play music they love, earn decent incomes, and generally find more satisfaction in their work and lives.
Chasin stated, "We're not exactly sure of the exact reasons for this phenomenon. But we all know that when you don't enjoy something, stress levels rise. High stress can cause disturbances in the inner ear circulation, leading to a decline in hearing levels."
Protecting Your Hearing, Enjoying the Harmony
Whether you're a musician or a music enthusiast attending concerts regularly, prioritizing hearing protection is crucial. Regular visits to a professional hearing center for assessments are recommended, even if you don't perceive any decline in your hearing. Hearing problems often occur gradually and are challenging to detect without testing.
Individuals with hearing loss retain residual hearing, and protecting this remaining hearing is essential. If you discover any hearing issues, seek medical attention promptly for early detection, intervention, and treatment. Feel free to consult with your local authorized dealer, and our hearing experts will provide professional assessments and personalized solutions based on your specific needs.
We've also prepared some tips for hearing protection – remember to bookmark and follow them!
Wear Hearing Protection Devices: Invest in noise-canceling earplugs. They not only safeguard your hearing but also allow you to enjoy music while staying aware of your surroundings.
Control Exposure to Noisy Environments: Noise exceeding 85 decibels can harm your hearing. Therefore, try to limit your time in noisy environments. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping exposure to 80-85 decibels within 2 hours and limiting exposure to 95 decibels within 50 minutes.
Whether you're a classical music enthusiast, a rock lover, or a musician, remember to protect your hearing. Music is wonderful, and good hearing is equally important.