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21.03.2014
This is the full text of the Sound Advice Working Group introduction to its recommendations for controlling noise in the music and entertainment industry. 1.1 Music is perceived as pleasant but can sometimes be loud to produce its effect, while the sound of a jet engine, for example, is regarded as unpleasant. 1.2 The music and entertainment industries are unique in that high noise levels and extremely loud special effects are often regarded as essential elements of an event.
1.3 Reducing noise risks in music and entertainment is not about destroying art, but about protecting people - artists, performers and ancillary workers equally.
1.4 The purpose of this guidance is to provide practical advice on developing noise-control strategies in the music and entertainment industries to prevent or minimise the risk of hearing damage from the performance of both live and recorded music. 1.6 Risk assessments of the work should identify those people who are likely to be at risk. 1.7 Everyone in the production chain has a role to play in managing the noise risks - whether it is the promoter selecting a balanced line-up, a performer working with reduced monitor levels or stagehands using their earplugs.
1.8 The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (the Noise Regulations) require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work, so far as is reasonably practicable. 1.9 The duties in the Noise Regulations are in addition to the general duties set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the HSW Act).
1.10 This guidance applies to premises where employees or the self-employed are present, where live (whether amplified or not) or recorded music is being played for entertainment purposes at noise levels which will result in performers' or other workers' daily personal noise exposure being likely to exceed the exposure levels in the Noise Regulations. The Noise Regulations mean operators of entertainment premises must protect their employees' hearing to a higher standard than the 1989 Noise at Work Regulations, which they replace. Employers are required to reduce exposure to noise and provide hearing protection and health surveillance including hearing tests (where appropriate) to employees directly involved with loud noise, such as musicians, DJs and bar staff.
One Council has worked hard over the last two years to raise awareness of this change in the law and encourage bars, clubs and theatres to carry out workplace assessments and plan any changes needed to comply with the new Regulations. The Council recognises existing licensed premises may find it difficult to carry out major building modifications immediately, but officers do expect employers to assess how best to protect employees from loud noise and come up with short-, medium- and longer-term solutions.
New businesses will be expected to incorporate noise-control measures during the design stage. The Council wishes to take a staged and proportionate approach to enforcement although it will use statutory powers if employers fail to meet their obligations.
1.14 The Noise Regulations require employers to take specific action at certain action values. 1.17 Look at Useful information and glossary for a table of the actions required based on a comparison of exposure action values and exposure limit values. 1.18 The noise exposure level (often referred to as the 'noise dose') takes account of both the sound pressure level and how long it lasts. 1.19 Each 3 dB added doubles the sound energy (but this is only just noticeable to a listener). A noise level reduction of 3 dB halves the sound pressure level (and its propensity to damage).
1.20 Halving the noise dose can be achieved either by halving the exposure time, or by halving the noise level, which corresponds to a reduction of 3 dB. 1.22 It is important that people consider noise exposure when not at work because cumulative exposure leads to hearing damage, whether or not it is work-related. Martin first noticed he had a problem when the ringing in his ears after a show never really disappeared, but became a permanent and very annoying feature of life. For the most part Martin has had to give up live engineering and has had to make a living as a 'system tech' and administrator for a PA rental company. This list is not definitive but indicates the jobs of people working in the music and entertainment sectors that might be affected by loud noise from live or amplified music or special effects. Frequency analysis: The breakdown of sound into discrete component frequencies, measured in Hertz and usually grouped in bands or octaves. Noise exposure: 'The noise dose', which can be calculated, takes account of the actual volume of sound and how long it continues.
The event safety guide - A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events. Sabine D Klein,Claudine Bayard,Ursula Wolf BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Xavier Perrot,Lionel Collet Hearing Research. Maya Guest,May Boggess,John Attia Hearing Research.
Image courtesy UT Dallas: Regular exposure to sounds greater than 100 decibels for more than a minute at a time may lead to permanent hearing loss, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Prolonged exposure to loud noise alters how the brain processes speech, potentially increasing the difficulty in distinguishing speech sounds, according to neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas).
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) reaches all corners of the population, affecting an estimated 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
Exposure to intensely loud sounds leads to permanent damage of the hair cells, which act as sound receivers in the ear. To simulate two types of noise trauma that clinical populations face, UT Dallas scientists exposed rats to moderate or intense levels of noise for an hour. Researchers observed how the two types of hearing loss affected speech sound processing in the rats by recording the neuronal response in the auditory cortex a month after the noise exposure.
In the group with severe hearing loss, less than one-third of the tested auditory cortex sites that normally respond to sound reacted to stimulation. In the group with moderate hearing loss, the area of the cortex responding to sounds didn’t change, but the neurons’ reaction did. Nutrition and dietary deficiencies can play a very real role in heath and the progression of disease. It’s actually hard to define a “vitamin” as they’re classified by what they do in the body vs. Vitamin deficiency is when the levels of available vitamin, as measured in the blood, are below a standard set by the medical and biochemistry community.
One point of debate is whether the current markers for high and low are really sufficient for preventing disease. Vitamin deficiencies can arise from diet, metabolic problems or a failure to absorb a nutrient properly. The majority of dietary Cobalamin is found in meat, egg and fish products – and a diet low in these can make it difficult to keep B-12 levels normal.
These proteins carry it through to the small intestine where the haptocorrins are degraded and the B-12 binds to “intrinsic factor”.
A failure of any of these proteins or receptor complexes can result in a failure to absorb or transport B-12.
To date, there has been one formalized study showing that individuals already deficient in B-12 are more likely to suffer noise induced hearing loss with tinnitus after exposure to loud noise. If the deficiency is an absorptive problem (which can be confirmed by your doctor), B-12 shots are a well recognized therapy. It’s important to note that the liver stores enough B-12 to supply all the body’s need for 2 to 3 years. If you suffer from tinnitus, call our office today to schedule a consultation with the best tinnitus treatment center in NYC. Call at 646-213-2321 to schedule a FREE 15 Min phone consultation with Stephen Geller Katz LCSW-R. It may help you to understand why noise control is so important in this industry, and includes information about permanent hearing loss, temporary deafness and tinnitus. High levels of sound are common, for example in bars, nightclubs, orchestras, theatres and recording studios.


It will also help performers and other workers and employers meet their legal obligations under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (the Noise Regulations). These will include musicians and performers, technical staff and others working directly on the entertainment, but also may include staff involved in work activities connected to the entertainment, for example ushers, security, front of house, bar and catering staff etc, depending on their location and length of time spent in the noisy environment. The main responsibility rests with the employer, but everyone should help reduce noise exposure and take a range of simple steps to protect themselves and others from the hazards of loud noise or lengthy exposure to noise at work.
These general duties extend to the safeguarding of the health and safety, including the risk of hearing damage, of people who are not your employees, such as contractors and members of the public. Anyone whose work may create a noise hazard has a responsibility to themselves and to anyone else who may be affected. Unless stated otherwise, readers should assume that values representing average, typical or representative noise levels have been measured using an A-weighting and values representing peak noise with a C-weighting. However, when considering ways to control noise, low-frequency noise needs to be treated differently to high-frequency noise.
Generally the potential for hearing to be damaged by noise is related to the noise 'dose' a person receives. When 10 dB is added, the energy is increased ten-fold, while adding 20dB is a hundred-fold increase. People often experience temporary deafness after leaving a noisy place such as a night club or a rock concert. It may only be when damage caused by noise over years combines with hearing loss due to ageing that people realise how deaf they have become. He often operated stage monitors with a wide range of performers and show formats, including at festivals where he would act as the 'house' engineer - mixing a number of the bands himself and acting as a 'babysitter' to visiting monitor engineers.
Appropriate for selecting suitable hearing protection and designing acoustic control measures. Noise exposure is not the same as sound level, which is the level of noise measured at a particular moment. Effects of instrument type and orchestral position on hearing sensitivity for 0.25 to 20 kHz in the orchestral musician.
Acoustics: determination of occupational noise exposure and estimation of noise induced hearing impairment.
Excitotoxicity, synaptic repair, and functional recovery in the mammalian cochlea: a review of recent findings. Effects of coexposure to noise and mixture of organic solvents on hearing in dockyard workers.
In a paper published in Ear and Hearing, researchers demonstrated for the first time how noise-induced hearing loss affects the brain’s recognition of speech sounds. The auditory cortex, one of the main areas that processes sounds in the brain, is organized on a scale, like a piano. It can be related to a diagnosed medical condition or be completely idiopathic; and when the cause is unknown finding solutions is an exhausting process.
The herbal and vitamin market abounds with claims, both supported and anecdotal, for the benefits of supplementation. The aforementioned problems certainly arise when levels of B-12 are significantly low, for a long time. B-12 can’t be manufactured by either plants or animals, and is actually formed by bacteria. Vegans must pay special attention to ensure their diets have a full complement of nutrients including B-12. Pancreatic insufficiency or a high (basic) intestinal pH can lead to problems with this step.
It’s common for the production of intrinsic factor to diminish with age, which is why we hear so much about B-12 shots for the elderly. It is known that deficiencies in B-12 can cause neurological symptoms due to hypomethylation within the nervous system (resulting from an inability to recycle homocysteine to methionine and ultimately to S-adenosylmethionine).
While one study does not a scientific truth make, this is a good place to start the investigation. If the failure is with B-12 usage from the blood stream, there are lifestyle changes that can maximize the value of the vitamin that is being absorbed such as maintaining adequate cysteine in the diet.
This is why symptoms of B-12 deficiency are slow to develop, and a single low blood test is not necessarily time to panic. There are cases of performers being unable to carry on their profession because of hearing damage as a consequence of their work. It has been produced by a working group of industry stakeholders with the support of the Health and Safety Executive. The Regulations specify the minimum requirements for the protection of workers from the risks to their health and safety arising, or likely to arise, from exposure to noise at work. Employees also have duties under the HSW Act to take care of their own health and safety and that of others whom their work may affect and to co-operate with employers so that they may comply with health and safety legislation.
For example, people cannot usually hear bats communicating at very high frequencies or when whales use very low frequencies. The terms dB(A) and dB(C) are not used but where noise has been measured using the C-weighting these are referred to as 'peak'. So the division of the A-weighted measurement into its constituent frequencies (frequency analysis) becomes necessary.
Common off-hours exposure to high noise levels may include audio and video equipment (personal car stereos, computer speakers, televisions), concerts, clubs and cinemas, sporting events, power tools and noisy hobbies. This may mean their family complains about the television being too loud, they cannot keep up with conversations in a group, or they have trouble using a telephone.
Other rarer conditions include hyperacusis (a general intolerance or oversensitivity to everyday sounds) and diplacusis (a difference in the perception of sound by the ears, either in frequency or time). At the end of each simulation the hearing level undamaged by noise for the age of the person is demonstrated. He eventually plucked up courage to go to his GP, and was diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus and a condition called diplacusis where the two ears hear a given pitch as two distinct tones - definitely not a good attribute for musical work. Musicians are also exposed to high sound levels during personal and group rehearsals, and are likely to spend considerably more time in rehearsals than in performances.
Berliner,Marilee Potthoff,Kirsten Holguin Otology & Neurotology. Neurons at one end of the cortex respond to low-frequency sounds, while other neurons at the opposite end react to higher frequencies. The neurons reacted slower, the sounds had to be louder, and the neurons responded to frequency ranges narrower than normal. Neurons reacting to high frequencies needed more intense sound stimulation and responded slower than those in normal hearing animals. Vitamin B-12 has been getting a lot of press lately regarding tinnitus and it’s hard to make sense of all the new information. But some argue that more mild insufficiencies may contribute subtly to degenerative illnesses. Cobalamin must be bound to protein during digestion, absorption and transportation through the blood.
It should also be noted that the study did not address whether supplementing with B-12 is protective or restorative, or if deficient B-12 simply left the hearing more vulnerable. While the journals report no evidence that taking excessive B-12 is hazardous, a person is concerned about B-12 should work with their doctor and a nutritional specialist to determine the concern, cause and the need to take action. This guidance aims to help prevent damage to the hearing of people working in music and entertainment from loud noise, including music. Hearing damage is permanent, irreversible and causes deafness - hearing aids cannot reverse it.


With properly implemented measures, the risk from noise in the workplace and the risk of damage to workers' hearing will be reduced.
It supplements the general HSE guidance on the Noise Regulations (L108) Controlling noise at work: The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. To account for the way that the human ear responds to sound of various frequencies a frequency weighting, known as the A-weighting, is commonly applied when measuring noise. It is also very important, particularly in music and entertainment, when selecting personal hearing protection, to ensure the correct type for protection from the most damaging frequencies identified during a noise risk assessment.
In general, an employer needs only to consider the work-related noise exposure when deciding what action to take to control risks. It is a sign that if you continue to be exposed to high levels of noise your hearing could be permanently damaged. Eventually everything becomes muffled and people find it difficult to catch sounds like 't', 'd', and 's', so they confuse similar words.
Danish research among symphony orchestras suggests more than 27% of musicians suffer hearing loss, with 24% suffering from tinnitus, 25% from hyperacusis, 12% from distortion and 5% from diplacusis.
Morphological and electrophysiological features, exposure parameters and temporal factors, variability and interactions. For comparison, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) lists the maximum output of an MP3 player or the sound of a chain saw at about 110 dB and the siren on an emergency vehicle at 120 dB.
Additionally, the rats could not tell the speech sounds apart in a behavioral task they could successfully complete before the hearing loss. Despite these changes, the rats were still able to discriminate the speech sounds in a behavioral task. Enzymes and their co-factors are not destroyed when they do their work, nor are they added to the final product, so they can be reused until they break down. Being below this level for long-term can lead to symptoms including megaloblastic anemia and neurological symptoms like numbness in the hands and feet, gait disturbances (problems walking) and even changes to taste and vision. A transcobalamin II receptor is used by peripheral cells to take it from the bloodstream, with about 50% of B-12 ending up in the liver for storage.
Performers and other workers in music and entertainment are just as likely to have their hearing permanently damaged as workers in other industries. The exception is when measuring peak noises, where a C-weighting is applied to ensure that proper account is taken of the sound energy in the peak sound. However the employer needs to consider whether risk-control measures need to be adapted in certain situations, for example if it is known that an employee is exposed to noise during other employment. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, extremely loud, explosive noises such as caused by pyrotechnics. However, there are other studies which give a range of figures from 10-60% for hearing damage among musicians. Regular exposure to sounds greater than 100 dB for more than a minute at a time may lead to permanent hearing loss, according to the NIDCD. Arnold and Miskolczy-Fodor [4] found no hearing loss among 30 professional pianists, and indeed, few studies have found changes in audiogram readings which could be interpreted to have been caused by exposure to sound, and whatever changes have been found are small. Westmore and Eversden [5] found hearing loss in 23 of 68 ears, but this hearing loss was greater than 20 dB in only four of them.Royster et al.
Axelsson and Lindgren [9] measured the sound levels in two theaters and the hearing thresholds of 139 musicians and found that the sound levels varied from 83 to 92 dB(A), with the highest levels being in the orchestra pit, and that 59 musicians had worse hearing than usual for their ages. Noise susceptibility We measured the cholestrol values of the sample members' blood samples and their bloodpressure using Omron M-9 instrument, and obtained data about their smoking and use of painkillers with a standard questionnaire which also had questions on information about all their other exposure to noise through such activities as teaching and noisy hobbies. The questionnaire also asked about the exclusion criteria of recurrent ear and CNS infections. We scored their noise susceptibility as the number of risk factors exceeding the limit values, as shown in [Table 1].
We conducted all audiometer measurements in the audiometric booth of the occupational-health care unit except for the members of the Guard band, in whom we measured in a booth at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Tinnitus and hyperacusis We obtained this study's data about the presence of tinnitus and hyperacusis after rehearsals and performances with questionnaire items with a 5-point Likert scale of never, seldom, sometimes, often, always. Exposure evaluation We conducted these measurements by instrument group in one to four different sessions, each using a dosimeter (Larson and Davis 705, 706), placing the microphone on each musician's shoulder in such a way that it did not disturb the performance.
Each dosimeter recording took place over an entire training or performance session, providing us with a total of 130 measurements from performances, group rehearsals, and individual rehearsals.
The ISO 1999-1990 models consist of two Gaussian distributions, one for over the 50th percentile and another for under the 50th percentile.
To compare the musicians' hearing to the hearing of the non-noise-exposed population, we set the noise-exposure term to zero. We inserted the noise-exposure term in the second transformation, which enabled comparison to noise-exposed industrial workers.
The hearing loss was tuned to the higher frequencies, which is typical for NIHL and presbycusis. Circles present outliers (95% confidence interval)Click here to view Tinnitus and hyperacusis Tinnitus and hyperacusis were relatively frequent, as shown in [Table 4], with 60% of the musicians having never or seldom experienced tinnitus after group rehearsals and performances. We also found that 12% of the subjects were current smokers, 2% were former smokers who had stopped, and 10% had used painkillers regularly for more than 5 years.
This study found that orchestra musicians' hearing loss corresponds to that of the non-noise-exposed population, according to ISO-1999. Noise itself is the most studied and best-documented environmental factor causing hearing loss, as it can cause mechanical damage, exert metabolic effects on the inner ear, or both. Authors [20],[21],[22],[23],[24] found a synergistic effect between noise exposure and exposure to chemicals in laboratory animals. Such additional environmental factors as ototoxic substances, drugs, heat, nutrient disturbances, and vibrations can also influence susceptibility to NIHL. The musicians' working environment has no ototoxic chemicals or vibrations, which is an indication that it is relatively friendly. Musicians need to concentrate intensely during all performances, which in turn requires physical fitness, creating an incentive for regular, healthy life habits, as this study's finding of a low number of risk factors among them has shown.Another factor indicating that music can harm musicians' hearing is the sample's elevated prevalence of tinnitus and hyperacusis. The low presence of hearing loss and the high presence of tinnitus can be explained by their etiology. Overstimulation may lead to cochlear injury either mechanically or metabolically, which are two fundamentally different ways. Experimental evidence suggests a critical level about 125 dB SPL, at which the cause of damage changes from predominantly metabolic to mechanical. It is reasonable to assume that risk factors affect the effects of metabolic trauma but not those of mechanical trauma, which could explain the low prevalence of NIHL and the high prevalence of tinnitus among musicians.Taking into account the risk of hearing loss, tinnitus, and other symptoms, the use of hearing protectors would seem to be justified.
Musicians have said that their main reason for using them is a fear of hearing loss and tinnitus, [1] but they also used them to avoid pain, to protect their ears from fatigue, to decrease stress, irritation, and fatigue, and due to existing hearing loss and tinnitus. However, it seems that for many of the problems created by wearing hearing-protection devices, especially such devices' effect on their performances were worse than their fears of hearing loss, a factor which limits their usage of such devices.
Musicians have reported that having existing hearing loss especially makes the use of hearing protectors difficult. Their low noise susceptibility is due to a low incidence of risk factors and is probably due to a low rate of exposure to negative environmental factors.



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