Investigating hearing health in early-career musicians
The Colt Foundation, plus additional support from the Manchester NIHR BRC in Hearing Health.
Samuel Couth, Garreth Prendergast, Hannah Guest, Michael Loughran, Dave Moore, Kevin Munro, Chris Plack, Chris Armitage, Jane Ginsborg (Royal Northern College of Music) and Piers Dawes
Musicians are at risk of hearing problems due to high levels of noise exposure on a regular basis. This could have implications for musical performance abilities, employability, and quality of life. The aim of this project is to determine whether early-career musicians show a change in their hearing over time as a result of noise exposure, including speech-in-noise perception, electrophysiological responses, and self-reported hearing problems (for example tinnitus).
The second aim is to determine reasons for non-use of hearing protection (such as earplugs) in musicians, and to use health psychology frameworks to develop interventions to promote hearing protection uptake and adherence.
Extended high-frequency hearing
Manchester NIHR BRC in Hearing Health, National Institutes of Health
Extended high-frequency (EHF) hearing, i.e. beyond the range of hearing thresholds that are currently measured in clinical audiometry, may be a sensitive predictor of age-related hearing loss that can identify individuals at risk of hearing loss much earlier in life. EHF hearing may be used to predict which individual young adults, adolescents or even children are likely to develop hearing loss in the conventional range of frequencies (0.25 – 8 kHz) later in life.
This could lead to early prevention on an individualised basis. Preventative measures might include advice on protecting hearing or, in the future, taking certain drugs found to prevent hearing loss. We have also found that preventing access to EHF results in poorer performance (SRT) on speech-in-noise, as tested with the DIN.