Hearing Conservation Program for Marching Band Members: A Risk for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss? PurposeTo examine the risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in university marching band members and to provide an overview of a hearing conservation program for a marching band.MethodSound levels during band rehearsals were recorded and audiometric hearing thresholds and transient otoacoustic emission were measured over a 3-year period. Musician's earplugs ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2013
Hearing Conservation Program for Marching Band Members: A Risk for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Su-Hyun Jin
    University of Texas, Austin
  • Peggy B. Nelson
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Robert S. Schlauch
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Edward Carney
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Correspondence to Su-Hyun Jin: shjin@utexas.edu
  • Editor: Sheila Pratt
    Editor: Sheila Pratt×
  • Associate Editor: Brad Rakerd
    Associate Editor: Brad Rakerd×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Research Article
Research Article   |   June 01, 2013
Hearing Conservation Program for Marching Band Members: A Risk for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 26-39. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/11-0030)
History: Received September 12, 2011 , Revised April 13, 2012 , Accepted August 1, 2012
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 26-39. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/11-0030)
History: Received September 12, 2011; Revised April 13, 2012; Accepted August 1, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeTo examine the risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in university marching band members and to provide an overview of a hearing conservation program for a marching band.

MethodSound levels during band rehearsals were recorded and audiometric hearing thresholds and transient otoacoustic emission were measured over a 3-year period. Musician's earplugs and information about hearing loss were provided to the students. The hearing thresholds of other college students were tested as a partial control.

ResultsThere were no significant differences in hearing thresholds between the two groups. During initial testing, more marching band members showed apparent high-frequency notches than control students. Follow-up hearing tests in a subsequent year for the marching band members showed that almost all notches disappeared. Persistent standard threshold shift (STS) across tests was not observed in the band members.

ConclusionBand members showed no evidence of STS or persistent notched audiograms. Because accepted procedures for measuring hearing showed a lack of precision in reliably detecting early NIHL in marching band members, it is recommended that signs of NIHL be sought in repeated measurements compared to baseline audiograms rather than in a single measure (a single notch). A hearing conservation program for this population is still recommended because of lengthy rehearsal times with high sound-level exposure during rehearsals.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Sarah Angerman and Jane Carlstrom of the Julia M. Davis Speech-Language-Hearing Center, University of Minnesota, for their help in data collection. This research was supported by the National Organization for Hearing Research and the University of Minnesota.
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