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Audiology. 1994 Jul-Aug;33(4):185-94.

Hearing loss in students at a conservatory.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital Dijkzigt, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We tend not to think of music as noise but as a pleasant sound. Yet, played loud enough, music can become a threat to the human ear. The question arises whether professional musicians suffer from hearing losses caused by their playing of music. The hearing of students at the Rotterdam conservatory was studied; medical students served as a reference group. High percentages of audiometric noise dips (16%) and high-frequency losses (20%) were found in students of the conservatory, as well as a high percentage (72%) of extended high-frequency losses relative to the reference curves of Dreschler et al. Surprisingly, an equally large (and in the high-frequency region an even higher) percentage of hearing losses was found in the control group of medical students with the same median age. In sum, the exposure of conservatory students to the practice of music has as yet had no effect on their hearing.

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