Potential for reduction in noise exposure using closed back headphone monitoring for rehearsal

Christopher Barlow, Adam Wenman

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    Student and young musicians often rehearse for long periods of time in small, often reverberant rehearsal spaces, resulting in high sound pressure levels, and have shown significantly higher rates of hearing loss onset than the general population. As a core element of rehearsal is quality of sound and good communication, musicians are often resistive to the use of hearing protection devices (HPDs).

    This study analysed the noise levels musicians were exposed to during rehearsals, and whether use of individual monitoring using closed back headphones in rehearsal environments could result in a reduction of noise exposure for musicians. It was hypothesized that the sound isolation from the headphones would allow musicians to monitor at a lower level while retaining clarity.

    Results indicated that the in-ear sound pressure levels did not significantly decrease overall, and in some cases significantly increased for musicians using headphone foldback. This also suggests that there may be potential increased risks issues with in-ear rather than loudspeaker monitoring for live music acts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-52
    JournalInnovation in Music Special Edition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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