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'The Musicians' Clinics of Canada and Unitron Hearing, provides hearing protection to the National Youth Orchestra'

The National Youth Orchestra is a group of 100 future professional musicians who have passed auditions held across Canada. The Orchestra meets every July, learning and rehearsing many hours each day. Throughout August, they tour Canada and perform. Approximately one-third of the current professional musicians in classical orchestras in Canada attended the National Youth Orchestra.

Data from the Musicians' Clinics of Canada, shows that the loudness levels these young musicians are exposed to exceed all safety limits for industrial facilities!

Maximum weekly noise/music dosages are achieved between 20 and 25 hours per week. Therefore, in essence, by Wednesday of any given week in August, the National Youth Orchestra musicians have achieved their weekly maximum exposure limit.

In many respects, classical musicians are more at risk for hearing loss from music exposure than their rock and roll contemporaries. While rock music can be more intense than classical music, the classical musician typically plays 5-10 hours per day, including performance, practice, and teaching. Rockers may only play on Friday or Saturday night and may not pick up their instrument until the next week. Therefore, the total exposure to potentially damaging sound is greater for the classical musician, than the rocker!

Unitron Hearing has donated 100 pairs of ER-20 earplugs to these musicians, as well as 100 copies of "Hear the Music." Hear the Music is an excellent book by Marshall Chasin, written for and about musicians, to help them understand the risks of prolonged and significant noise/sound exposure, and to understand strategies which can be used effectively to minimize their risk of permanent hearing damage.

"With the earplugs, the intensity of the music has been reduced from 115 dBA to a bearable 95 dBA. Just as importantly, the music still sounds like it should - low frequencies and high frequencies are attenuated identically, providing the musician with the chance to still hear music as it was intended, but at a quieter, safer level," says Marshall Chasin, audiologist and Director of Auditory Research at the Musicians' Clinics of Canada.

Michael Moore, General Manager of Unitron Hearing - Canada says, "Many forms of hearing loss cannot be prevented. We are delighted to be able to help out with a preventable source of hearing loss."

Dr. Douglas L. Beck, audiologist and editor-in-chief of Audiology Online and Healthy Hearing remarked, "This is an absolutely wonderful thing Unitron and the Musicians' Clinics of Canada is doing. Prevention of hearing loss is the most important and effective way of managing the problem, and between the excellent ear plugs and the excellent text, they have really provided these young people with the tools they need to do an excellent job protecting their ears."

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