The Risk of Hearing Loss in College Marching Bands
College marching bands face significant risks of hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to high decibel levels during practices, rehearsals, and performances. These risks arise from the duration of sporting events, the instruments played, and the intensity of practices.
Exceeding Recommended Limits:
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), there are daily allowable exposure limits to decibels. However, the exposure levels experienced by marching band performers frequently surpass these limits, leading to potential permanent hearing damage.
Duration of Events and Practices:
College football games, lasting around three hours, impose constraints on decibel exposure. With warm-up times included, exposure must not exceed certain decibel levels. Regular weekly events and multiple daily rehearsals further exacerbate the risk, often surpassing recommended limits.
Playing recognizable college fight songs often involves instruments that produce high decibel levels. Among these, the cymbals and flugelhorn stand out as the loudest, exceeding OSHA limits for safe exposure. Other instruments, such as the sousaphone, guitar, and bassoon, pose lower risks.
Impact on Color Guard:
Even non-instrumental roles like baton twirlers and color guards face risks. Their performances, although quieter in rehearsals, occur in close proximity to loud instruments during halftime shows. This proximity amplifies risks and can lead to substantial hearing damage.
To address these risks, tailored-fit earplugs with dual filters offer a solution. These filters attenuate excessive noise while maintaining audibility, enabling band members to perform without discomfort. The customization ensures a secure fit and eliminates occlusion concerns.
The Process and Warranty:
The process of acquiring tailored-fit earplugs begins with making ear impressions using the provided kits. Subsequently, within 21 days, customized earplugs are delivered. Moreover, reputable manufacturers extend warranties, providing the option for exchanges in case the fit proves unsatisfactory. These musician-specific earplugs enable safe practice and performance.
Investing in musician-specific hearing protection is essential for college marching band members. By safeguarding their hearing, musicians can actively participate in their bands, enhance their performances, and ensure their long-term auditory health. Don’t hesitate—prioritize your hearing protection today!