Dosimeter Sound Level Measurements in Practice Rooms

Alan J. Martin


Previous research suggests that musicians may be particularly susceptible to noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). To date, however, very few studies examined noise exposure acquired by university vocalists as they practice in school practice rooms, many of which may be small and poorly constructed. The purpose of this study was to assess the noise exposure of university singing students (N = 14; n = 4 sopranos, n = 3 mezzo-sopranos, n = 4 tenors, n = 3 basses) during practice times in university designated practice rooms. Each recorded session consisted of a natural, non-guided practice routine, documented by each participant, lasting for a duration of the participant’s choosing. In addition, 3 participants (n = 1 soprano, n = 1 mezzo-soprano, n =1 bass) collected data during waking hours for one day. Participants wore Etymotic Personal Noise Dosimeters (Model ER-200D) calibrated according to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommendations. Acquired data were disaggregated according to allowable daily noise dose percentages, equivalent continuous noise levels (LEQ), voice classification, year in school, and participants' self-reported levels of awareness of NIHL and proactive hearing conservation. Results were discussed in terms of vocal pedagogy, hearing health, and suggestions for future research.

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