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Mapping Sound Intensities by Seating Position in a University Concert Band: A Risk of Hearing Loss, Temporary Threshold Shifts, and Comparisons with Standards of OSHA and NIOSH

 
 

Copyright 2017, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Holland, N.
Journal Title: PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Date Published: 2004
Language: English
Category: Hearing Loss
Key Words: sound intensity concert band hearing loss musician dissertation North Carolina
Full Citation: Holland, Nicholas Vedder, III. Mapping Sound Intensities by Seating Position in a University Concert Band: A Risk of Hearing Loss, Temporary Threshold Shifts, and Comparisons with Standards of OSHA and NIOSH. PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2004.
Full Abstract: Exposure to loud sounds is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in the United States. The purpose of the current research was to measure the sound pressure levels generated within a university concert band and determine if those levels exceeded permissible sound limits for exposure according to criteria set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Time-weighted averages (TWA) were obtained via a dosimeter during six rehearsals for nine members of the ensemble (plus the conductor), who were seated in frontal proximity to instruments of power (trumpets, trombones, and percussion; (Backus, 1977). Subjects received audiometer tests prior to and after each rehearsal to determine any temporary threshold shifts (TTS). Single sample t tests were calculated to compare TWA means and the maximum sound intensity exposures set by OSHA and NIOSH. Correlations were calculated between TWAs and TTSs, as well as TTSs and the number of semesters subjects reported being seated in proximity to instruments of power. The TWA-OSHA mean of 90.2 dBA was not significantly greater than the specified OSHA maximum standard of 90.0 dBA ( p > .05). The TWA-NIOSH mean of 93.1 dBA was, however, significantly greater than the NIOSH specified maximum standard of 85.0 dBA ( p < .05). The correlation between TWAs and TTSs was considered weak ( r = .21 for OSHA, r = .20 for NIOSH); the correlation between TTSs and semesters of proximity to instruments of power was also considered weak ( r = .13). TWAs cumulatively exceeded both associations' sound exposure limits at 11 specified locations (nine subjects and both ears of the conductor) throughout the concert band's rehearsals. In addition, hearing acuity, as determined by TTSs, was substantially affected negatively by the intensities produced in the concert band. The researcher concluded that conductors, as well as their performers, must be aware of possible damaging sound intensities in rehearsals or performances.