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The Sound of Music May Ruin Your Ears

Music teachers risk hearing loss, study finds

FRIDAY, May 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Music teachers are exposed to noise levels that could cause hearing loss, says a University of Toronto study.

Researchers used noise dosimeters to measure noise exposure for 18 music teachers from 15 high schools. They found that the peak noise level exceeded 85 decibels (dB) for 78 percent of the teachers.

As a comparison, a lawn mower produces about 90 dB.

While noise levels experienced by the teachers over the course of an average day were marginally acceptable, noise levels during music teaching periods could cause damage to the inner ear. The study concluded that, over an average eight-hour exposure, 39 percent of the music teachers faced potentially harmful noise levels.

Many of the classrooms have concrete block and linoleum, which are highly reflective sound surfaces. The study authors suggest that schools consider protective measures such as sound baffling and carpeting in music rooms. They also suggest that music teachers wear protective earplugs and get regular hearing checks.

The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about noise-induced hearing loss.

SOURCE: University of Toronto, news release, May 2004
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