Singers need good hearing; however, they may be exposed to loud noises during their
musical activities. The objectives of this study were to describe the incidence and
type of hearing loss (HL) in singers.
Retrospective case cohort.
Billing records identified patients who had undergone videostroboscopy and audiogram
during the same visit over a 3 year period. A singer was defined as anyone who self-identified
as a singer (professional or avocational). Age and gender matched nonsingers were
used as controls. Patients with otologic diagnoses, surgery, or complaints were excluded.
Retrospective chart review was conducted for the presence of HL, type of HL, and pure
tones audiogram results. Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics, Students
t test, chi-square test, and Fisher exact test.
Of 172 singers (44.7 years, 37.8% male), 31 (17.5%) had HL. Pure tone thresholds for
the singers with HL subgroup at 3, 4, and 6 kHz were 21.0, 26.5, and 34.4 dB in the
right, and 22.8, 30.3, and 38.8 dB in the left ear, respectively. Older age (P = 0.000000000000001), male gender (P < 0.001), longer number of years of singing (P = 0.0000000003), and baritone voice (P < 0.001) were associated with HL. There was no association with genre of music. When
compared with controls, the incidence of HL (19.8%) was not significantly different
(χ2 = 0.300, P = 0.58). Pure tones at 3, 4, and 6 kHz were not significantly different than controls
with HL. Most common type of HL in singers was bilateral sensorineural (83.9%), which
was significantly higher than controls (39.0%, χ2 = 14.6, P < 0.001).
The incidence of HL in singers was 17.5%, which was not significantly different from
controls. Bilateral sensorineural HL was most common.