Highway to hearing hell: musicians and the danger of deafness

The Sound Blog

AC/DC have postponed their US tour after singer Brian Johnson was warned by doctors that he was at risk of “total hearing loss”. This is unsurprising, perhaps, given the decades that the Australian band has been pumping out the hard rock decibels. But deafness isn’t only a concern for rock musicians, or drum and bass DJs – from classical violinists to pop singers, in recent years it’s become clear that anyone around music a lot has reason to be equally worried.

The largest study into noise-induced hearing loss in musicians was published in 2014. Three million Germans were examined, including 2,227 professional musicians. They found that the musicians were about four times as likely to report a new noise-induced hearing loss compared to the general population.

Many studies into classical musicians have also found evidence of problems. One study from the 1990s found that violinists and violists have more hearing…

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