Are musicians at risk of hearing loss?

True or false?

A  lifelong dedication to playing an instrument or being in a band may not be quite as hard on the ears as many assume. Some recent research suggests it may even benefit hearing.

In a study, researchers examined professional musicians recruited from four classical orchestras with hours of exposure to music. Through extensive tests, the scientists found hearing loss among the musicians no worse than among the general population. They did find a greater risk of hearing loss among musicians with the greatest exposure to higher-frequency noise (above three kilohertz) and a greater prevalence of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, among musicians in general. In another study, musicians showed far less age-related decline in hearing and better hearing amid background noise.

THE BOTTOM LINE

While chronic exposure to any loud noise can cause hearing damage, musicians may have better hearing than people in the general population.

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