Preferred and Minimum Acceptable Listening Levels for Musicians While Using Floor and In-Ear Monitors Purpose This study examined the impact that changing on-stage music and crowd noise levels during musical performance had on preferred listening levels (PLLs) and minimum acceptable listening levels (MALLs) across both floor and in-ear monitors. Method Participants for this study were 23- to 48-year-old musicians, with and without ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2008
Preferred and Minimum Acceptable Listening Levels for Musicians While Using Floor and In-Ear Monitors
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeremy Federman
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Todd Ricketts
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Contact author: Jeremy Federman, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Medical Center East, South Tower, 1215-21st Avenue South, Room 8310, Nashville, TN 37232. E-mail: jeremy.federman@vanderbilt.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2008
Preferred and Minimum Acceptable Listening Levels for Musicians While Using Floor and In-Ear Monitors
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 147-159. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/011)
History: Received October 6, 2006 , Revised March 17, 2007 , Accepted May 23, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 147-159. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/011)
History: Received October 6, 2006; Revised March 17, 2007; Accepted May 23, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose This study examined the impact that changing on-stage music and crowd noise levels during musical performance had on preferred listening levels (PLLs) and minimum acceptable listening levels (MALLs) across both floor and in-ear monitors.

Method Participants for this study were 23- to 48-year-old musicians, with and without hearing loss, who had 10 years of musical training or comparable professional experience. For this study, PLLs and MALLs were established for the musician’s own voice, whereas the levels of other onstage musical signals were systematically varied. PLLs for in-ear monitors were found at significantly lower levels than for floor monitors (approximately 0.6 dB).

Results PLLs for in-ear monitors were found at significantly lower levels than for floor monitors (approximately 0.6 dB). However, despite large spectral differences, PLLs across the 2 monitor types were small enough that the same recommended exposure time would be advocated based on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommendations. MALL data also indicated significantly lower levels (approximately 6.0 dB) when musicians were using in-ear monitors in comparison to floor monitors.

Conclusion The much larger difference suggests that musicians’ risk of noise exposure may be reduced by the use of in-ear monitors. However, given the similar PLL results and known monitor output levels, proper counseling would likely be required before this potential advantage would be realized.

Acknowledgments
We greatly appreciate the equipment loaned from Shure Incorporated and Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation for use in this study. We would like to thank Vern Denney at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for providing a facility for part of this study, and Kate Carney for facilitating it. We sincerely thank D. Wesley Grantham and Anne Marie Tharpe for their help and input throughout the project, especially their review of this article in its many iterations, and Warren Lambert for his aid with statistical analysis. We are grateful for the assistance and support provided by graduate students Jenny Kingsbury, Jason Galster, Doug Sladen, and especially Erin Picou. Lastly, thanks to Lisa Sykes for inspiration and clinical support.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access