A new study by Help Musicians UK shows that musicians are four times more likely than the general population to suffer hearing damage, and they have a significantly greater risk of developing tinnitus.
But few musicians are doing anything to lower the risk, the study found.
This is despite the fact that several major stars—including Ozzy Osbourne, Pete Townshend, Neil Young and Phil Collins—have publicly discussed their hearing loss and tinnitus in the past.
Now, Help Musicians UK—the leading UK charity for professional musicians of all genres—is setting out to educate musicians about the importance of looking after their ears. This follows recent research conducted by the organisation which found that 41% of musicians tend to experience hearing problems during their career, with the vast majority of them blaming their profession.
Nearly 700 professional musicians of all genres and types, singers and instrumentalists took part in the Help Musicians UK study. Just over 40% said they had experienced hearing loss and 20% said they did not know if they had been affected—meaning that less than half were confident their hearing was okay.
Some 78% of the musicians who reported a problem said they believed their career was a major factor in their hearing loss. 57% had suffered tinnitus, 21% hyperacusis (excessive sensitivity to sound) and 4% diplacusis (confusion in hearing pitch).
Despite the increased risk, 68% of the musicians surveyed said they hadn’t had a hearing test within the previous three years. And while 89% believed they should be using hearing protection, only 66% actually used it … and only 8% used it every time they played.
Nigel Hamilton, Help & Advice Manager at Help Musicians UK, said: “We know that hearing is one of the most important tools a musician has and when we started looking into musicians’ hearing more closely we realised how fragile it can be. Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable but also completely irreversible. Once it’s gone, it’s lost forever. As the leading charity for musicians, we felt we had to do something”.
As part of the #HearForMusicians campaign, Help Musicians UK is offering advice on hearing protection via its website, as well as providing financial support for hearing tests, hearing protection and hearing aids. Find out more HERE …
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Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman Jimmy Webb has announced that Elton John and Bernie Taupin will be the 2013 recipients of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at this year’s awards ceremony in New York on June 13.
John and Taupin have been one of the most prolific and successful songwriting partnerships of all time. Their award-winning relationship has spanned more than four decades and they have collaborated on more than 30 albums since they first met in 1967.
“Some catalogues are more significant than others not only because of their pertinence to the times in which they were written, but because their sheer mass is overpowering,” said Jimmy Webb. “It’s just not that easy to write 40 top 10 records. It’s kind of like swimming the English Channel with your hands tied behind your back.”
He added: “Elton’s readily identifiable melodic piano style has proven to be a perfect accompaniment to Bernie’s razor sharp lyrics about relationships and living on the edge of life both in good and bad times.”
The Johnny Mercer Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It is exclusively reserved for songwriters or songwriting teams who have already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer.
Past Johnny Mercer Award recipients have included songwriting giants: Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Phil Collins, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Paul Simon, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.
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