What do you need to know?
- Musicians playing in an orchestra or a band are exposed to high levels of noise, whether on or off stage or in a pit
- There is evidence that exposure to live music can cause hearing damage
- Employers and employees working in concert halls and theatres have responsibilities to protect the hearing of all employees. This includes musicians, performers and crew, including guest performers
- Length of exposure is as important as noise level
- Noise exposures in orchestra pits can quickly exceed safe levels – they are often cramped and enclosed, with performers playing the same shows on a regular basis
- Actors and other workers on stage can be exposed to high levels of noise caused by on-stage bands and choruses
Factors that contribute to permanent hearing damage include:
Instruments and players: Some instruments, particularly brass, cause problems for other members of the orchestra or band. Others cause problems for the players, for example the piccolo, which is very close to the player’s ear.
Length of exposure: It is essential that any estimate of employees’ exposure is representative of the work that they do for example, performing the same show several times a week would be more likely to cause problems than playing 4 different operas on different evenings. Measures of weekly noise exposure should include the performer’s practice and rehearsal time as well as the performance.
You can find out more about noise exposure in:
Where a concert hall or theatre is playing amplified live music you can find out more at Amplified Live Music.
For foyers and bars see Pubs and Clubs.
You may also need to think about: