Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Teachers of Singing and Voice Students

Published:November 10, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.10.003

      Summary

      Objectives

      Singers and voice teachers are exposed to a range of noise levels during a normal working day. This study aimed to assess the hearing thresholds in a large sample of generally healthy professional voice teachers and voice students to determine the prevalence of hearing loss in this population.

      Study Design

      A cross-sectional study was carried out.

      Methods

      Voice teachers and vocal students had the option to volunteer for a hearing screening of six standard frequencies in a quiet room with the Shoebox audiometer (Clearwater Clinical Limited) and to fill out a brief survey. Data were analyzed for the prevalence and severity of hearing loss in teachers and students based on several parameters assessed in the surveys. All data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Corp.) and SPSS Statistics Software (IBM Corp.).

      Results

      A total of 158 participants were included: 58 self-identified as voice teachers, 106 as voice students, and 6 as both. The 6 participants who identified as both, were included in both categories for statistical purposes. Of the 158 participants, 36 had some level of hearing loss: 51.7% of voice teachers had hearing loss, and 7.5% of voice students had hearing loss. Several parameters of noise exposure were found to positively correlate with hearing loss and tinnitus (P < 0.05). Years as a voice teacher and age were both predictors of hearing loss (P < 0.05).

      Conclusions

      Hearing loss in a cohort of voice teachers appears to be more prevalent and severe than previously thought. There is a significant association between years teaching and hearing loss. Raising awareness in this population may prompt teachers and students to adopt strategies to protect their hearing.

      Key Words

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