Study: brass players at risk of hearing loss

Posted on: October 1, 2013

In Monday’s (9/30) Toronto Star, Trish Crawford reports that Toronto Symphony Orchestra Associate Principal Horn Christopher Gongos “has a secret weapon tucked into … the pipes on his gleaming French horn: a pair of earplugs … to help block the wall of sound being created by the … drums, trumpets, trombones.… A study released Sept. 24 reported only 18 percent of the 144 musicians surveyed during an Australian French horn convention reported using ear protection. In the study … researchers in 2010 found that 17 to 33 per cent of the participants younger than 40 showed some form of hearing loss.… Dr. John Chong, who specializes in treating musicians and builds custom-made earplugs for them, says classical musicians, especially those in front of brass instruments, suffer the most.… ‘It’s not just the intensity of the music, but also the duration that yields a hearing loss,’ says Toronto audiologist Marshall Chasin, who works with Chong. … Harcus Hennigar, who teaches French horn at the University of Toronto and is a retired member of the TSO, preferred to use a plastic music ‘shield,’ placed behind the musician’s head.”

Posted October 1, 2013