The hearing health of live-music sound engineers

Siobhan McGinnity, Elizabeth Francis Beach, Robert S. C. Cowan*, Johannes Mulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Most studies of hearing loss prevention in the music industry focus on the risk of hearing injury to musicians. However, live-music sound engineers (LMSE) may also be at risk of hearing injury due to their work-related sound exposure. We studied 27 LMSE, all of whom underwent otologic examination, including audiometry, distortion product otoacoustic emissions, speech discrimination and uncomfortable loudness levels, and completed a questionnaire investigating their history of sound exposure and use of hearing protectors. Hearing thresholds were significantly poorer than normative data across several frequencies, and a substantial proportion reported constant tinnitus (30%) and reduced sound tolerance (41%). Use of hearing protection was relatively low, with many reporting interference with their job when using it. Our results suggest that LMSE are at risk of hearing injury due to their work-related sound exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-312
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Environmental and Occupational Health
Issue number6
Early online date21 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021


  • hearing loss
  • live music
  • music induced hearing injury
  • noise
  • sound engineers
  • tinnitus
  • workers


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