A large majority of middle schools, high schools and colleges are proud to present their band groups at football games, community events and in parades all over the country. School bands are an integral part of the spirit and life of many learning institutions! The bad news is ears are being damaged each time the students play.
Here are a few cold hard facts.
*Drumline rehearsals can reach peak levels of 115 dB. (The unprotected exposure limit at this level is less than 30 seconds.)
*Musicians experience significant sound exposure. (Many will develop some degree of hearing loss.)
* The human ear overloads at high sound levels making it difficult to distinguish the musical blend.
*Marching band sound levels peak as high as 120 dB. (The unprotected exposure limit is less than 7 seconds.)
*Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and temporary hearing loss can occur from a single concert or high level sound insult.
We can do something about this problem and protect our musicians’ ears. Etymotic Research, has created a non custom high-fidelity hearing protection solution to preserving the hearing of band members across the United States by creating the Adopt a Band Program. The purpose of the program is to educate musicians about the importance of wearing hearing protection during practice and performance, advocating safe playing and practicing habits for today’s young musicians. Hearing loss is a function of exposure time, the average sound level, and the peak level of very loud sounds. Excessive noise exposure can cause permanent hearing loss depending on the intensity and duration of the sound source.
SUMMARY: 1- Noise induced hearing loss is preventable, 2-Protect your ears as you would your skin from sun OR your head from damage with the use of a helmet on the football field, 3-Realize that broken bones heal but your ears do not, 4-you can make a difference by becoming educated and spreading the word.
Utilizing ear plugs can help protect against this damage. Take this opportunity and “get on the safety bandwagon”!!