The purpose of this study was to investigate college student musicians' attitudes and understanding of noise-induced hearing loss as well as determine their noise exposure and prevalence of hearing loss. The researcher conducted a survey with 41 student participants that were involved in musical ensembles at a small liberal arts college in northeast Ohio. In addition, the researcher measured peak and average noise levels in Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra rehearsals using a dosimeter. Results of the study revealed that noise levels in typical ensemble rehearsals reached up to 111 dB A, which exceeded occupational safety levels as determined by occupational safety and health administration (OSHA). Furthermore, the majority of students reported at least one symptom of hearing loss, yet on average they did not feel that they were at risk and they were very unlikely to use hearing protection. Students performed poorly on measures of hearing loss awareness and reported that their primary sources of hearing loss education were the media and their parents, not from music instruction. Despite this, subjects showed some concern about acquiring hearing loss and the effect it could have on interpersonal relationships, which shows potential for change. From the data collected by this study noise-induced hearing loss appears to be a very real threat for collegiate student musicians, even though it is completely preventable with proper education and hearing protection measures.


Goldberg, Don

Second Advisor

Johnson, Michelle


Communication Studies


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology


noise-induced hearing loss, student musicians, hearing loss prevention

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Virginia T. Rich