Musicians Suffer Higher Rate of Hearing Loss

Studies show that professional musicians are at significantly higher risk than non-musicians for hearing loss.(Photo: Travis Isaacs (Creative Commons/Flickr))
Studies show that professional musicians are at significantly higher risk than non-musicians for hearing loss.(Photo: Travis Isaacs (Creative Commons/Flickr))

Beethoven might still be the world’s most famous hearing-impaired musician, but he certainly wasn’t the only one.

One European study showed that professional musicians experience hearing loss at nearly four times the rate of non-musicians, according to Pacific Standard. The same study also claimed that musicians were far more likely than non-musicians to experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Some researchers recommend that musicians perform with “in-ear devices” (ear plugs) and that shields be placed between instrumental sections in orchestras or bands to reduce the amount of noise that reaches the ear.

As significant a risk factor for hearing impairment as performing music may be, some classical musicians have been able to continue their careers despite suffering hearing loss. Beethoven, again, managed to compose some of the world’s most adventuresome and enduring music in almost total deafness. Ralph Vaughan Williams suffered hearing loss during this most productive years as a composer. Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, profoundly deaf since age 12, remains one of the world’s foremost percussionists.

Read more: New Data Finds High Rate of Hearing Loss among Musicians (PS)

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