Preventing hearing loss

The Grainger Wind Symphony wishes to bring to the attention of players in regard to the prevention of hearing loss.

Hearing and listening are significant to the playing and performance skill of all musicians. With a commitment to life-ling participation and enjoyment of music, then it is important that everyone is aware of preventable loss.

Proximity The seating position of players in the wind symphony is a convention that has been shaped by the position of other instruments they need to combine with. However, players can shift their position backwards or forwards to increase the distance from any instruments that produce a high sound level. Please discuss with players around your position, the section manager or the conductor.

Personal devices Players have available a wide range of ear plugs that attenuate sound levels. The musician needs to find the correct design that reduces extreme sound levels but not reduce clarity and the full range of frequency heard. The best are also comfortable to wear for a whole rehearsal or concert. The quality musician ear plugs are custom fit by specialists and can be selected by at least three attenuation levels. We recommend that players go to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital for expert and cost effective advice on musician’s earplugs

Acoustic shields These are more recently available and are more cost effective. Earlier types were clear perspex boards mounted on a tripod stand and placed behind the player where the interfering sound came from behind. They are an effective barrier and less distracting to the eye. They are less than ideal because of the hard reflective surfaces on both sides which distorted the musical sounds for players in front and behind.

Goodear Acoustic Shields are a recent addition to the market. This is an Australian company Symphony Services International. Mounted on a tripod, the curve black acoustic shield is placed behind the player’s head and the player is able to move their head into or away from the shield in order to vary the effect of the sound barrier.  The GWS does not have the funds to purchase these, but perhaps a sub-committee could be formed to seek funding.