Instrumental music teachers: music exposure and hearing loss

Elizabeth Beach, Megan Gilliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most music teachers experience lengthy periods of noise exposure on a daily basis, which, if of sufficient duration and intensity, can lead to hearing damage, tinnitus, and eventual hearing loss. In this study, 30 music teachers were surveyed regarding their attitudes to music exposure, hearing protection, and symptoms of hearing damage. Pure tone audiograms were obtained for 28 participants. Results showed that teachers were aware of the risks associated with noise exposure, however, they believed that most of their teaching peers and students were less aware. The audiograms revealed reduced hearing acuity in 13 participants: Ten participants had average hearing levels >20-dB HL, and while this was age-appropriate for five participants, the other five had hearing worse than expected for their age. A further three participants had audiograms within the normal range (4FAHL <20 dB HL), but thresholds were worse than expected for their age. Thus, in at least eight cases, there were possible indications of hearing loss that may be noise-related. This study suggests that music teachers are at greater risk of hearing damage than the general population. We need to inform music teachers of the risk and encourage them to minimise their exposure levels in order to maintain their long-term hearing health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian journal of music education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Music teachers
  • Hearing damage
  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
  • Music-induced hearing loss (MIHL)
  • Hearing loss


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