Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Noise and music teachers

Back when the OSHA noise standard was being enforced, when employers were being cited for lack of engineering controls, it became fashionable to divert attention from occupational noise exposure to rock and roll. Later, there was a boomlet in boom boxes and walkmen. This paper notes that even in high toned music settings, there can be damage to hearing. Over the last decade, it's been shown that hearing loss begins at 80 dBA, not 85 or 90.

Music may generate higher measurements on a noise meter than ordinary garbage noise, because pure tones may not interfere as the mixed frequencies of white noise.

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2004 Apr;1(4):243-7.

Noise exposure of music teachers.

Behar A, MacDonald E, Lee J, Cui J, Kunov H, Wong

W.Sensory Communication Group, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. behar@sympatico.ca

Noise exposure of 18 teachers from 15 schools was measured using noise dosimeters. The equivalent continuous noise level (L(eq)) of each teacher was recorded during single activities (classes) as well as for the entire day, and a normalized 8-hour exposure, termed the noise exposure level (L(ex)) was also computed. The measured L(eq) exceeded the 85-dBA limit for 78% of the teachers. L(ex) exceeded 85 dBA for 39% of the teachers. Limited recommendations on how to reduce the noise exposures are provided. The need for a hearing conservation program has also been emphasized.

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