Dr. Mark May,Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Department
Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, Coordinator of Music Division
Mrs. Candace Jones, Administrative Assistant, Phone:(678) 466-4750, Fax: (678) 466-4769
Health and Wellness concerns for musicians apply to all music faculty, staff, and students. Hearing concerns, vocal health, and muscle injury are an everyday part of the music profession. Musicians must take an active role in making informed decisions to help maintain their own health, safety, and wellness.
From the NASM 2012-2013 Handbook:
Students enrolled in music unit programs and faculty and staff with employment status in the music unit must be provided basic information about the maintenance of health and safety within the contexts of practice, performance, teaching, and listening.
NOTE: Health and safety depend in large part on the personal decisions of informed individuals. Institutions have health and wellness responsibilities, but fulfillment of these responsibilities cannot and will not ensure any specific individual’s health and safety. Too many factors beyond any institution’s control are involved. Individuals have a critically important role and each is personally responsible for avoiding risk and preventing injuries to themselves before, during, and after study or employment at any institution.
The Division of Music at Clayton State University provides for the benefit of our students, faculty, and staff information regarding best practices in health and wellness for musicians. In addition to the material provided on this page and the linked resources, information will be presented periodically each academic year as part of the MUSC 0890 (Recital Attendance) course. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding injuries or other music-related health issues, ask your applied instructor or ensemble director for assistance and additional resources.
Topics relating to health and wellness for musicians include, but are not limited to:
The information on this webpage is advisory in nature. It is not a substitute for professional, medical judgments and should not be used as a basis for medical treatment. If you are concerned about your hearing or think you may have suffered hearing loss, or if you have a major or persistent injury, consult a licensed medical professional. You can also seek information, advice, and/or treatment from University Health Services (http://www.clayton.edu/uhs) or Counseling and Psychological Services (http://www.clayton.edu/counseling).
Protecting Your Hearing Health: An NASM-PAMA Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (November 2011, National Association of Schools of Music and the Performing Arts Medicine Association)
Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.
Your hearing can be permanently damaged by loud sounds, including music. Technically, this is called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Such danger is constant.
Noise-induced hearing loss is generally preventable. You must avoid overexposure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time.
The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms.
Sounds over 85 dB (your typical vacuum cleaner) in intensity pose the greatest risk to your hearing.
Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration.
Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:
Certain behaviors (controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, turning down the volume) reduce your risk of hearing loss. Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds. See chart above.
The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health.
Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future. Since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily, even hourly basis.
It is important to follow basic hearing health guidelines.
It is also important to study this issue and learn more.
If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional.
If you are concerned about your hearing health in relationship to your program of study, consult the appropriate contact person at your institution.
This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). For more information, check out the other NASM-PAMA hearing health documents, located on the NASM Web site at the URL linked below. http://nasm.arts-accredit.org/index.jsp?page=NASM-PAMA_Hearing_Health.
Recommendations for Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss:
Resources for Information on Protecting your Hearing Health
Medical Organizations Focused on Hearing Health
Tips for keeping your voice healthy (Norman Hogikyan, University of Michigan Health System)
Other suggestions for vocal health:
Instrumental musicians are particularly at risk for repetitive motion injuries. Many instrumentalists commonly develop physical problems related to playing their instruments, and if they are also computer users, their risks are compounded.
Instrumental injuries often include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and bursitis. Incorrect posture, non-ergonomic technique, excessive force, overuse, stress, and insufficient rest can also contribute to chronic injuries that can cause great pain and, in extreme cases, career-ending disability.
Recommendations for preventing injury:
As with other items we use in the course of our daily lives, musical instruments must be cared for properly and cleaned regularly. This is important not only for the “health” of the instrument itself but for the musician’s wellness. Proper care of shared instruments (for instance, those used in methods classes or checked out from the department) is a particularly important wellness practice.