House Ear Institute Finds Hearing Loss in 15 to 25 Percent of Audio Professionals 
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Written by Scott Selter   
Thursday, 21 March 2002

House Ear Institute Finds Hearing Loss in 15 to 25 Percent of Audio Professionals

Preliminary observations compiled by the House Ear Institute (HEI) from free hearing screenings at the three largest pro audio industry tradeshows (AES, NSCA and NAMM) indicate a noticable pattern in the degree of hearing loss experienced by music and audio professionals.

These observations were gathered informally in variable conditions, to get an overview of how hearing loss might vary between individuals in different niches within this industry.

"The confidential screening tests allow industry professionals a convenient method to determine their hearing thresholds," said Dilys Jones, Director of Marketing at the HEI. "Sound engineers, audio system contractors, music producers and professional musicians are dependent on their ears to hear a wide range of frequencies for their careers, but are also at high risk for noise-induced hearing loss."

HEI has recorded the results of free hearing screenings offered to attendees at the annual Audio Engineering Society (AES) tradeshow since 1997. An average of 15 percent of those tested were diagnosed by certified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) technicians as having mild to serious hearing loss.

Since 1998, free hearing screenings have been available to attendees at the annual National System Contractors Association (NSCA) Expo. A hearing deficit was evident in 26 percent of the participants screened at this event by certified OSHA technicians.

At the International Music Products Association (NAMM) winter 2002 show, an average of 25 percent of participants in the free hearing screenings showed a hearing deficit.

"Our observations indicate that people who install audio systems or who are constantly subjected to amplified music are more likely to have hearing loss than sound engineers, who appear to be more aware of controlling sound in their environment." Jones said. "Regardless of their field, music and audio industry professionals need to be constantly alert of the possible dangers to their ears in their everyday work. Once your natural hearing is gone, it can't be replaced."

For more information about the House Ear Institute, call (213) 483-4431 or visit the Website at

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