Deanna Meinke

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Objective: The aim of this study is to examine research studies related to marching band noise (sound) exposure, to examine the sources and potentially hazardous effects of sound levels on hearing and describe best practices for prevention as reported in the literature. Methods and Materials: A literature search was performed to identify original research articles describing noise exposure, noise-induced hearing loss and hearing conservation programs applicable to university and high school marching bands and related staff members. The databases Web-of-Science, Google Scholar, and PubMed were searched using a set of 15 key words in combination. Results: A total of 14 studies were identified as relevant to the risk of hearing loss from marching band activities and strategies for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss in this group. Conclusion: The literature review revealed that marching band members are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Multiple studies reported that marching band members often exceeded 100% daily noise dose, according to NIOSH criterion (Edwards; Miller, Stewart, & Lehman; Walter). Additional research suggests that hearing loss conservation programs are effective in these populations, as after receiving education, earplug usage increased by 54% (Auchter & Le Prell) and concern for NIHL increased by 39.5% (Seever et al.). The literature supports the need for further research in the noise exposures of young adults and the implementation of hearing conservation programs targeting students and staff that participate in marching bands.

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