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Health Promotion and Music
Healthy Lifestyle Programs (Ipswich region) include:
  • Walking / Swimming
  • Healthy Eating and Meal Preparation (Good Quick Tukka; or CSIRO)
  • Supportive counselling, group education workshops for people with a disability (low vision, blindness)
  • Chronic Disease Management--work simplification, energy conservation, joint protection (arthritis)
  • Recommendation of adaptive equipment, ergonomic, and environmental modifications
  • Activity analysis--music occupational performance assessment and recommendations
Music Health Australia welcomes educators / therapists / and support staff who work in creative and performing arts occupations, including:
  • Gardening / Horticultural and design of environmental soundscapes, musical playgrounds
  • Creative ArtsTherapists
  • Music, Dance, and Drama Teachers
  • Learning Support Staff
  • Personal Care Workers
  • Living Skills- Special Education Teachers and Allied Health Support roles
We can all contribute to health promotion and encouraging healthy lifestyles for musicians and others.

Music Health Australia provides healthy lifestyle programs through Medicare funding for Chronic Disease Management (Enhanced Primary Care), Better Access to Mental Health, and Indigenous Health programs.

Please contact us to discuss your needs and requests for services.

Ergonomic Seating for Musicians
Musician Seating (Trumpet and Flute, Guitarist sit-stand)
Drummer Thrones
Conga Stands
Guitarist Seating 

Please let us know if you have tried these products and your views on ergonomic seating for musicians.
Poster presentation for the Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference 28-29 November, 2013
  Click on poster to expand view
Printed with kind permission of the Director of the
Yugambeh Museum, Beenleigh.
Chooky Dancers - Arnhem Land. "Living Strong" News story from NT Deadly TV about Elcho Island young men promoting health and well being through dancing, and performing around Australia.


 click on photo to view YouTube video

Hans Rosling lecture: 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes. The Joy of Stats. BBC Four.
Some food for thought about the global context and inequities in health  and wealth over the last 200 years. Hans Rosling is
Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Director of the Gapminder Foundation.

Latest video from Music Health Australia 
Zac Benjamin’s documentary, 2010, “Music: In Tune with the Brain.”

click on photo for link to 5 minute You Tube video

There seems to be increasing recognition of the importance of health education aimed at preventing injuries sustained by musicians while they are enrolled in post-school music education programs. This is related to the two-way duty of care inherent in Workplace Health and Safety legislation -- the responsibility of the school to educate students on healthcare and injury management, and also the student's responsibility not to knowingly put themselves or others at risk of injury.

Music health promotion is quite different to music health education and dealing with the health concerns of individuals. Health promotion addresses factors that are related to certain populations, such as social attitudes, equitable distribution of resources, health literacy, building capacity, and social inclusion. Since advocacy of 'Health for all' is everyone's responsibility, then it is essential that we ensure competent and responsible management of health for music students and promote healthy patterns of living throughout the lifespan. Music health promotion starts in the home and continues throughout life -- at every stage of people's involvement with music. The attitudes that we display are just as important as the words that we speak in bringing about health promoting schools of music and suitable environments for study, work and recreation. Music teachers/instrumental instructors, students, performers, architects, sound technology engineers, accompanists and health professionals have very important roles to play. Some articles that are relevant to this discussion are listed below.

Music Health Australia provides educational workshops, consultancy to music schools, and advises about how to refer to specialist music health/rehabilitation services. Rebates may be available through health insurance funds, Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service, Medicare, or other applications for funding, research and development. Speakers from Music Health Australia may be available for orientation programs in tertiary institutions and music schools.




Barton R & Feinberg J. (2008). Effectiveness of an educational program in health promotion and injury prevention for freshman music majors. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 23.2: pp 47-54. 


Chesky K, Dawson

W & Manchester R. (2006). Health promotion in schools of music: initial recommendations for schools of music. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 21.(Sept), pp 142-145. 

Koskinen H, Toppila E, Olkinuora P, (2010) Facilities for music education and their acoustical design. International Journal Of Occupational Safety And Ergonomics 16.1, pp. 93-104.

Manchester R. (2007). Health promotion courses for music students: Part III.(Special Article)(Report).Medical Problems of Performing Artists 22.3: pp116-120. 




Manchester R. (2007). Health promotion courses for music students: Part II.(Special Article)(Report).Medical Problems of Performing Artists 22.2: pp 80-82. 




Manchester R. (2007). Health promotion courses for music students: Part 1.(Report). Medical Problems of Performing Artists 22.1: pp 26-30. 




Manchester R (2006). Promoting health in post-secondary music schools.(From the Editor)(Editorial)(Report).Medical Problems of Performing Artists 21.3: pp 95-97. 






Spahn C, Strukely S, Lehmann A. (2004) Health conditions, attitudes toward study, and attitudes toward health at the beginning of university study: music students in comparison with other student populations.(Clinical report). Medical Problems of Performing Artists 19.1, pp 26-34. 


Voltmer E, Schauer I, Schroder H & Spahn C. (2008). Musicians and physicians--a comparison of psychosocial strain patterns and resources. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 23.(Dec 2008): pp 164-169. 



The 7th Global Conference on Health Promotion was held on October 26-30, 2009 in Nairobi. Information can be accessed via the social networking site www.connect2change.org

There are several conventions that are relevant to providing music health programs that have societal benefits. Conventions will be reviewed from the international to more local levels, starting with human rights to health, primary health care, health promotion charters, social responsibility standards, and music/health policies for at-risk population groups.

Human rights to health
Human rights to health are enshrined in various United Nations and international agreements. The agreements are the basis on which public policy is created.

Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemploymnet, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

This declaration has influenced the development of rights to health that are stated in other conventions:

Article 12.1 of the International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

Article 5 (e) (iv) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965).

Articles 11.1(f) and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

These conventions have been ratified by Australia. They deal with the socio-economic determinants of health, as well as access to health services, so impel the government to direct public health policy and strategy toward improving social determinants of health - especially for disadvantaged, minority, or marginalised population groups.

Primary Health Care - United Nations Declaration of Alma-Ata

The International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978, resulted in the declaration of Alma-Ata. The 10 principal points are summarised as:

         I.            Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and is a fundamental human right. Attaining the highest possible level of health is a worldwide social goal that requires the action of many sectors.

       II.            The existing gross inequality in people’s health status is unacceptable and is of common concern to all countries and people.

     III.            Economic and social development is essential to attaining health for all, and health is essential to sustained development and world peace.

     IV.            People have the right and duty to participate in planning and implementing health care.

       V.            A main goal of governments and the international community should be the attainment by all peoples by the year 2000 of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life. Primary health care is the key to attaining this goal.

     VI.            Primary health care is based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible through people’s full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford. It is the central function of the health system and its first level of contact, bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work.

   VII.            Primary health care evolves from a country’s own conditions and addresses the main health problems in the community. It should lead to progressive improvement of health care for all while giving priority to those most in need.

 VIII.            Governments should formulate policies and plans of action to make primary health care part of a comprehensive national health system, in coordination with other sectors. This requires political will to mobilize domestic and external resources.

      IX.            The attainment of health in any one country directly concerns and benefits every other country. All countries should cooperate in the development and operation of primary health care throughout the world.

        X.            An acceptable level of health for all people by 2000 can be attained through better use of the world's resources, much of which is spent on military conflict.

"The International Conference on Primary Health Care calls for urgent and effective national and international action to develop and implement primary health care throughout the world and particularly in developing countries in a spirit of technical cooperation and in keeping with a New International Economic Order. It urges governments, WHO and UNICEF, and other international organizations, as well as multilateral and bilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, funding agencies, all health workers and the whole world community…to collaborate in introducing, developing and maintaining primary health care in accordance with the spirit and content of this Declaration."

Health promotion charters
Further health promotion conventions resulted from international conferences on primary health care.

The World Health Organisation Global Conference on Health Promotion website outlines important health promotion charters that were developed from 1978 to present (
http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/en/index.html). The Ottawa Charter of Health Promotion (1986) was signifiicant in that it outlined resources, key actions and basic strategies to pursue. The prerequisties for health were identified as: peace, a stable ecosystem, social justice and equity, and resources such as education, food and income. Key actions to promote health included building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community actions, developing personal skills, and reorienting health services.


Further international health promotion conferences were held, and in 1997 The Jakarta Declaration on Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century established five priorities that were confirmed by the WHO Assembly in 1998.
1. Promoting social responsibility for health
2. Increasing community capacity and empowering the individual
3. Expanding and consolidating partnerships for health
4. Increasing investment for health development
5. Securing an infrastructure for health promotion.

All of these priorities are very significant to supporting and enabling communities to manage their own music heritage and culture. Community music may be one possible strategy for promoting people's self management of health and well-being. Music is well accepted as a modality that allows people's active participation across generations. Unlike sports, perhaps, music can reach people's heart and soul. Victor Hugo said that "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." Oscar Wilde said, "Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory." People may instinctively know this from moving experiences of music.

This link connects to the United Nations Global Compact Network (Asia Pacific) which explains that "the Global Compact is a voluntary initiative bringing together the private sector, civil society organizations, trade unions, UN agencies, and other stakeholders to advance ten universally accepted principles."

Human Rights
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labour Standards
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour:
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

A search of Australian Standards reveals that corporate social responsibility is covered under the Quality Management Systems guidelines of AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008. The diagram on page 7 of this document shows a process-based quality management system.

AS8003-2003: Corporate Governance - Community Social Responsibility provides guidance on establishing, implementing and maintaining effective community social responsibility programs.

Health promotion programs in community music may be one way in which corporations can meet community social responsibility requirements. Place-based planning can involve discussion of partnerships with the corporation sector, government and non-government organisations.


There is the need to consider the health and welfare of minority, disadvantaged or marginalised population groups as the first priority of concern in human rights to health. The Healing Foundation are assisting with programs and funding to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including families and communities affected by the Stolen Generations.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) was formed in 1995, and this marked a renewed attempt to develop a more collaborative approach between the Commonweath and the states. Inter-governmental agreements in Indigenous health followed. The first round of agreements were signed from 1998-1999, usually by the Commonwealth minister, the state minister, a representative of community-controlled health organisations in a particular jurisdiction, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (Anderson, 2004, 265-271).

Other developments included the agreement by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) to a set of National Performance Indicators in 1998, which was a new initiative to establish a national performance-monitoring frameworks in Indigenous health. This has been superceded by the Indigenous Health Performance Measurement Framework (2004). The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information Plan was agreed to in 1997, and this set out priorities for the development of quality health information systems. The Commonwealth Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP) directed some resources into collaboration and planning, and this provided the means for developing the capacity of primary health services for Indigenous Australians (Anderson 2004, pp. 270-272).

AHMAC  established the National Indigenous Health Workforce Development Strategy in 2002, and the revised version of the NAHS, the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (2003). These agreements influence the way that Music Health services are delivered in Australia.

Anderson, I. 2004, The framework agreements: Intergovernmental agreements and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, in Honour among nations? Treaties and agreements with Indigenous people, eds M. Langton, M. Tehan, L. Palmer and K. Shain, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, pp. 254-272.


The flow-on effect of the "Health for All" principle is that individuals can be active in taking responsibility for the self-management of their own health and well-being, and they can assist those around them at the community level. Music, health professionals, and other people can support this process by providing community music, education, and therapy programs. Music can also be used in health education to promote well-being.

There is growing evidence from case studies and other research that active participation in music is beneficial to people's health and well-being.

Dr Steve Dillon has accumulated some evidence about the associations between music and well-being. He sent the following links:
Save to Disc (Documenting Innovation in Sound Communities), the Sweet Freedom website, and a U-Tube video about  My Life, My Voice with Down's Syndrome Queensland - as examples of the work he is doing. Steve has recently authored a book entitled Music, meaning and transformation: Meaningful music making for life. The book is aimed at current and pre-service music teachers, but it has wider application to community music, therapy and other related fields.


The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare

(ASPAH) was formed in November 2006. Its members come from a variety of backgrounds, from healthcare professionals, to performing artists, to educators and researchers, all of whom share a passion and common belief. 

Vision statement
ASPAH will be seen nationally and internationally as a respected collective of professional excellence in the field of holistic lifespan healthcare for performing artists.
Mission statement
This organisation recognises that all performers, young and old, amateur and professional, have unique needs that may not be met by standard models of health care. Therefore it promotes:
  • Accessible high quality holistic health care for all performing artists
  • Education for health workers, teachers, performers and students to improve health and well-being
  • Research across disciplines relevant to this field
  • A culture of lifelong preventative health care and safety practices
  • Multidisciplinary discourse among health professionals, educators and performing artists
  • Increased community awareness of performing arts health care
Dr John Hadok, MB BS, DA (UK), FIMC RCS Ed, FACRRM, ACCAM, has written a helpful article about "Performing Arts Healthcare in Australia - A Personal View," in the journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists. June, 2008, pp. 82-84.

The idea that people can influence their own health was expressed by Mary Reilly, in her famous quote that has inspired occupational therapy practice, "That man through the use of his hands, as they are energised by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health." This U-Tube video shows occupational therapists working in the area of hand rehabilitation
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=IIxBabhz_zw. Actively playing musical instruments may be one way to improve physical, psychological, social and spiritual health.

Reilly, M. (1962). Occupational therapy can be one of the great ideas of the 20th century medicine. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 16, 1-9.



There are measures that people can take to preserve their own hearing, and set up  environments that support auditory health and well-being.

Kate Moore (Audiologist, Project Manager, Audiology
Australia) has compiled information from various articles such as Chasin, M. Musicians and the Prevention of Hearing Loss. AudiologyOnline (2008, January 28).

Hearing loss is a gradual process that may not be noticed for years. There are many sources of noise encountered in everyday life: traffic, loud music, MP3 players, lawn mowers, and motor boats, to name a few. Even a noisy football ground can be damaging! Yet, even quiet noise, depending on how long you listen, can damage your hearing. It is quite surprising how quiet an 85 dBA noise actually sounds. A permanent hearing loss can be the result of a single loud blast (acoustic trauma), but more often it is the result of years of exposure to sounds that one would not normally think of as damaging. Industrial environments are in this sense, a much more controlled environment than many musical venues. There is scant research in the literature on this topic. Most of the models of noise-induced hearing loss are for levels up to 115 dB.

In contrast to acoustic trauma, hearing loss from long-term noise or music exposure is typically in the 3000 to 6000 Hz region. The vast majority of the research in the area of hearing loss has been in the industrial/occupational domain. While it is known that occupational levels in excess of 85 dBA can permanently damage hearing (and data exists that even levels above 80 dBA can be damaging), the levels from exposure to recreational noise such as music are not as well defined. An  assumption in all noise exposure research is that
intermittent noise with regular quiet periods would be less damaging than steady-state noise. Humans (and all other mammals) have a small muscle in their middle ears (behind the ear drum) that contracts upon hearing loud sounds. This is an advantage because the protective muscle contraction ensures that our own voice is not too loud for us. When this muscle (called the stapedius muscle) contracts, it pulls on the small chain of bones in the ear that conducts sounds, making these bones temporarily less efficient as conductors. Sound from the environment therefore cannot get through to our inner ears as readily, thus providing us with significant protection.  One unfortunate feature of the stapedius muscle is that it loses its efficiency after about 10-15 seconds. In an industrial environment, therefore, after 15 seconds of constant steady-state noise, the stapedius muscle yields no further protection. However, music has loud and soft passages, and it is this intermittent loud/soft alteration of music that allows the stapedius muscle to “reset” and once again provide protection for intense sounds.

Ear plugs are usually small foam or rubber inserts that can be placed in the outer ear. Ear muffs that fit over the ear and are bulkier than earplugs, can also be quite useful for very noisy situations. Due to the laws of acoustics, hearing protection attenuates the shorter wavelength, higher frequencies more than their longer wavelength, low-frequency neighbours. Subsequently, hearing protection treats different frequencies in different ways. This may be acceptable for many industrial workers, but is disastrous for many musicians. In the past 15 years, there have been a series of ear plugs available that are ideal for listening to music. These “flat” or uniform attenuator ear plugs lessen the sound or noise energy equally across the spectrum. Music still sounds like music, but without that “dead” feeling.
Another difference between musicians and industrial workers is that most musicians do not work a 40 hour week, with the exception of musicians in environments where they can be exposed for a significant number of hours each week from their own instruments, their colleagues, or their students. Many musicians have the advantage of being able to rest for long periods of time in relative silence. This may not be the case for industrial workers who like to go to rock concerts. The loud concert could easily add to their total weekly dosage of noise exposure.

Permanent hearing loss starts as a series of temporary hearing losses. When you come out of a rock concert or other loud place, your hearing may be temporarily reduced. You might notice this as a muffled or dead feeling in the ears, which is sometimes accompanied by ringing. This temporary hearing loss may resolve after about 16-18 hours. If exposure to the loud noise is repeated often enough, temporary hearing loss can become permanent. The strategy would therefore involve moderation. If you go to a rock concert on Friday night, don’t mow your lawn Saturday. Wait until Sunday, or better yet, get someone else to do it!

The human ear is much like any other body part- too much use and it may be damaged. The ear takes about 16 hours to "reset". After attending a rock concert or a loud session, you may notice reduced hearing and/or tinnitus (ringing) in your ears. And if your hearing was assessed immediately after the concert, one would find a temporary hearing loss. After 16 hours however, your hearing should return to its "baseline" (hopefully normal) level. After a loud session or concert, refrain from practice for 16-18 hours. It’s a good excuse not to mow your lawn for a day or two!

Strategies to reduce the potential for music-related hearing loss :

• Earmonitors are small in-the-ear devices that look like hearing aids connected to small wire cables. These can be plugged directly into the amplification system. These not only afford some protection from overly loud music, but allow the guitar players and vocalists to monitor their music better. Frequently, the overall sound levels on stage during rehearsals and performances are quieter while using these monitors. In the case of vocalists, the use of ear monitors will allow them to hear their voice better with an added benefit of reduced vocal strain after a long set. Earmonitors can be designed to either improve monitoring or function as ear protection, or both. Depending on the type of music, one's style, and one's position in the band, a trade-off between these goals may be

• Loudspeakers generate a wide range of sounds. Like the bell of a trumpet however, not all sounds come directly out of the speaker. Low-frequency bass notes can be just as loud beside the loudspeaker enclosure as directly in front, whereas higher frequency sounds emanate much like a laser beam. Tilting or aiming the loudspeaker up to the musicians' ear will ensure that the music has a "flatter" response. The overall level will tend to be lower on stage because the sound engineer will not need to compensate for a "peaky" response. Some researchers recommend elevating loudspeakers to ear level for much the same reason. Indeed this can be useful, but this will depend on the design of the loudspeaker. Checking with the manufacturer will provide information on whether this is the best choice of orientation for that specific loudspeaker.

• The loudspeakers can also be used as an acoustic shadow to hide in. High-frequency sounds tend to emanate from the loudspeakers in almost a straight line. Since these same high-frequency treble notes can also be the most intense, standing beside the loudspeaker enclosure (instead of in front or behind it) may afford some protection.

• The main source of potential damage appears to be from the drummer's high-hat cymbal, typically on the left side of the drummer. Moving away from the high hat cymbal as much as is reasonable, or the use of lucite or plexiglas baffles between the cymbals and the other musicians may be useful to minimize the potential damage to one's hearing. If baffles are used, it is important to ensure that they do not extend above the level of the drummer's ear, since high-frequency reflections can exacerbate the drummer's hearing.

• There are now custom-made, tuned earplugs that many instrumental musicians and vocalists are using, called the ER-15 ear plugs. These allow all of the music to be attenuated (lessened in energy) equally across the full range of musical sounds. That is, the low-bass notes are treated identically to the mid-range and high-frequency treble notes. The balance of music is therefore not altered. These have been in wide use since the late 1980s. ER series of earplugs are uniform (flat) attenuators manufactured and available from most audiology clinics. These earplugs are custom made to fit individual ears and use a variable vent size to provide varying amounts of high frequency attenuation with little or no low frequency attenuation. There are 2 levels of attenuation Er15 and ER25.

Ear plug recommendations
Chasin, M. (2008, January 28). Musicians and the Prevention of Hearing Loss, AudiologyOnline.

Instrument auditory danger and earplug(s)
Reeded woodwinds with Brass section to rear: ER-15
Flutes: (>105 dBA) ER-15
Small strings: (>110 dBA) ER-15
Large strings with  Brass section to rear: ER25
Brass: (>105 dBA) ER25
Percussion:  ER-25
Vocalists: (>115 dB peak) ER15
Amplified Instruments with Speakers/monitors: ER-15/25

Intensities of Common Sounds in Decibels (dB A-weighted)
From Chasin, M. (2008, January 28).  Musicians and the Prevention of Hearing Loss, AudiologyOnline.

Common Sounds Intensities and Maximum weekly time limits
Ticking wrist watch 20 dB
Quiet whisper 30 dB
Humming refrigerator 40 dB
Moderate rainfall 50 dB
Washing machine 60 dB
Normal conversation at 3 feet 60-70 dB
Normal piano practice 60-70 dB
Noise in living area of space station 65 dB
Vacuum cleaner 70 dB
Telephone dial tone 80 dB
Alarm clock at 2 feet 80 dB
City traffic, inside the car 85 dB 40 hours
Violin 88-110 dB < 20 hours
Marshall Chasin’s clarinet 80-110 dB <20 hours

Time for Ear plugs
Industry monitoring requirements begin at 85-90dB
Regular, sustained exposure may cause damage from 85 dB

Power lawn mower 91 dB and up <10 hours
MP-3 player (one third vol.) 94 dB 5 hours
Trumpet 97 dB 2.5 hours
MP-3 player (half vol.) 100 dB 1.25 hours
Chain saw 110 dB 10 minutes
MP-3 player (full vol.) 115 dB < 5 minutes
Amplified rock music at 4-6 feet 120 dB dangerous without ear protection
Pain Begins 125 dB
Symphonic music (peak)* 120-137 dB*
Firecracker (peak) 140 dB
Rock music (peak) 150 dB

MP3 Players and hearing
I will continue to find info on MP3 players but there is not much. Apple were forced to put a warning on their packaging after a lawsuit but that is about it. Rule of thumb  is never go above 1/2 volume but this is such a variable thing. Different MP3s have different Sound Pressure Level outputs, and the level arriving at the drum is dependent on the shape of the ear canal, type of earphones, and how well fitted the earphones are.

Further reading:
Chasin, Martin Editor (2008), Hearing loss in musicians: Prevention and management, San Diego: Plural Publishers.

'Hearing Loss', Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, Vol 6, no 1 Spring/Summer, 2005. Online at http://interact.uoregon.edu/mediaLit/wfae/journal/

Owens, D.T. (2008) Review. Hearing loss: A primer for the performing arts, Medical problems of performing artists, Dec. pp. 147-154.





Sonic environment/Auditory health of musicians
The most significant issue of music and health I am aware of is music created deafness.  Legislation that deals with music over say 90db as a serious health hazard and even assault would be very welcome.  Another issue is that of producers of radio and television programs who have background music running behind dialogue which excludes hearing impaired people from accessing the dialogue. 

11/17/2008 6:04:31 PM      Peter Tregear
An excellent topic. I'd be interested to hear (as it were) from anyone with legal expertise in Torts or related fields whether, for instance, spending time in a night club which is pumping out music to a level that damages people's ears would be considered non-consensual assault (after R v Brown).

11/18/2008 9:44:40 AM      Sandra Kirkwood
I'm not sure about the legal background to the hearing abuse question, but we have a neighbourhood concern about the siting of the Southern Freight Rail corridor through rural residential areas and beside the Purga Nature Reserve . Koala protection organisations and local people are outraged. As a musician I was wondering how we can cost the economic value of the quietness of our natural environment. That would allow us to compare the loss of the quietness when the rail line goes through. The state government only offers compensation for the 100 metre wide strip of the freight line that goes through properties, but the disruption to the sonic environment extends much further than that. The loss of quietness and silence of the natural environment could have a great social-health impact on people's well-being but this was not recognised in social-health impact studies. Are music/health professionals concerned about this insidious destruction of the sonic aesthetics and beauty of the natural environment? Somehow recording of decibel levels, do not tell the full story. If financial compensation was forthcoming, this could only restore quietness if people use it to move away to a more remote location. The corridor connects the western rail line near Rosewood to the interstate rail line north of Beaudesert. The government reasoning is that this will mean fewer trucks on roads, and will lead to greater expediencies and economic benefits for the whole state. How can community music address issues that impact on people & environment? (Read more at the bottom of the Topics/
Ecology and Society page.)


11/19/2008 10:22:29 AM
You can get around the problem in live sonic environment with the lastest hi tech aids because they have programs that foreground what you want to hear and suppress backgrounds sounds. In fact, someone using aids with these programs, even cics, is often better off in, say, a noisy restaurant than someone with normal hearing. But no aids will suppress the music on a sound-track behind dialogue coming out of speakers. As far as loud music and hearing goes, probably the worst aspect these days is the self-abuse by people with ipods so, being self-abuse, there is probably not a great deal can be done about it. There is strong legislation about noise coming from venues.

11/19/2008 10:01:00 PM     Rachel
The comment on ipods is intriguing and timely. Studies consistently indicate that prolonged use of ipods, at an excessive volume, is damaging to people's hearing. To what extent should the government intervene to protect people from themselves? Should there be legislation to limit the maximum volume of mp3 players or similar? 

11/20/2008 8:50:44 AM     Sandra
Maybe Sony or some other corporate sponsor may be interested in helping us investigate some of these complex issues. I'll see if I can chase up their latest Social Responsibility Report, because it looks like they support the health & well-being of people and the environment


11/21/2008 9:32:05 AM     Sandra
Yes, I did find some helpful information about mp3 players and effects on hearing at website
http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/hearing-loss-personal-music-player-mp3/figtableboxes/table-4.htm. Sony Australia has a sponsorship application form available on their website. Are there any university students interested in research projects in this area?

Also, the wonderful news... Kate Moore, audiologist and project manager from Audiology Australia, has agreed to provide some advice on auditory health and music. Kate can be contacted on
memberservices@audiology.asn.au. I have invited her to participate in the forum.
Does anyone have any thoughts about the suggestion of limiting the volume threshold of MP3 players so people are not able to abuse their hearing? Please contact us with your ideas and suggestions.



  © Sandra Kirkwood, 2008
Commenced by Sandra Kirkwood 17 Nov, 2008. Updated 6 May, 2017
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