Protecting Your Hearing Health

Protecting Your Hearing Health

Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA).

  • Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is largely preventable. You must avoid overexposure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time.
  • The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms.
  • Sounds over 85 dB (your typical vacuum cleaner) in intensity pose the greatest risk to your hearing.
  • Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration.
  • Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:
    • 85 dB (vacuum cleaner, MP3 player at 1/3 volume) – 8 hours at 90 dB (blender, hair dryer) – 2 hours at 94 dB (MP3 player at 1/2 volume) – 1 hour at 100 dB (MP3 player at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 minutes at 110 dB (rock concert, power tools) – 2 minutes
    • 120 dB (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate
  • Certain behaviors (controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, turning down the volume) reduce your risk of hearing loss. Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds.
  • The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health.
  • Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future. Since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily basis.
  • If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional.

Adapted from: Protecting Your Hearing Health: Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss NASM/PAMA: November 2011, V-2. 

Community Resources: Hearing Health

UNCP Student Health Services- 910-521-6219

Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Lumberton, NC)- 910-671-5000