Australia’s Queensland Symphony, monitoring noise exposure of its musicians

Posted on: November 21, 2014

In a Wednesday (11/19) Reuters report from Australia, Kathryn Doyle writes, “A program to protect Queensland Symphony Orchestra players in Australia from hearing loss is producing encouraging results, according to a new study.” The study’s lead author, Ian O’Brien, “is a clinical audiologist as well as a professional horn player with noise-induced hearing loss…. Nine years ago, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra started ongoing noise exposure monitoring, data reviews and plotting noise maps for concert halls and orchestra pits where the musicians played over a three-year period…. They investigated how the orchestra was laid out and whether or not using risers or acoustic screens would mitigate some of the noise exposure and the extent to which player seating could be rotated periodically.… The implementation of noise control programs, which is now mandatory in Europe, has not proven to be a simple task, said Esko Toppila of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, who was not involved in the new study. Most programs like this in Europe have not yet had an impact on the safety of musicians, but the program in Queensland seems to be a rare success story, he said…. ‘They have been able to maintain the motivation of the musicians for a relatively long time,’ Toppila said.”

Posted November 21, 2014