Many with hyperacusis are current or past musicians. Similar to call center workers, musicians give significant attention to their auditory senses while being exposed to sounds of even greater intensity. A 1999 study of 100 hyperacusis patients found 25% had a music related profession. 31% of patients surveyed reported that their hyperacusis was caused by music exposure:

“It was quite clear from the present material that music was by far the most common aetiology. Thirty-one patients considered that music exposure, either professional or at loud pop/rock concerts or discotheques, had elicited the hypersensitivity to sound”
-Hypersensitivity to sound: Questionnaire data, audiometry and classification

When looking at the musician population, the prevalence of hyperacusis is consistently greater than that found in the general population:

Reference Musician Type Total Surveyed % Reporting Hyperacusis
Kahari 2003 Jazz/Rock 139 39%
Janson 2009 Symphony 241 Total: 79%
“Severe”: 10%
Schmuziger 2006 Pop/Rock
42 26%
Halevi-Katz 2015 Drummers 10 40%

One study found drummers to be most at risk,

“Drummers are more susceptible to [Noise Induced Hearing Loss]…  Drummers showed an occurrence of 80% of tinnitus and 40% of hyperacusis. 70% of drummers reported using hearing protection, in relation to the rest of the participants of the study who reported 42.1% use of hearing protection… [Drummers] were found to have significantly higher [hearing loss] compared to other musicians within the study.”
-Exposure to music and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among professional pop/rock/jazz musicians

Another way to identify a relation between hyperacusis and musicians is to check if hyperacusis is more likely to develop depending on the number of total hours an individual has been practicing and performing as a musician. The 2015 study by Halevi-Katz on pop/jazz/rock musicians found a significant positive correlation between musician experience and reported hyperacusis.

With this in mind, it seems likely that hyperacusis can develop as a cumulative effect of sound exposure. Below is a list of decibel levels that can be experienced by musicians regularly.


Data from and a study by Marshal Chasin AuD

Cumulative cochlear and neurological damage can occur even in those that show normal hearing tests. See hidden hearing loss for more information.

Next: Further Reading

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Anari M, Axelsson Alf, Eliasson A, Magnusson L. Hypersensitivity to Sound: Questionnaire data, audiometry and classification. Scand Audiol 1999:28:219-230.

Schmuziger N, Patscheke J, Probst R. Hearing in nonprofessional pop/rock musicians. Ear Hear 2006:27(4):321-330.

Halevi-Katz D, Yaakobi E, Putter-Katz H. Exposure to music and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among professional pop/rock/jazz musicians. Noise & Health 2015:17(76):158-164.

Jansen E, Helleman H, Dreschler W, de Laat J. Noise induced hearing loss and other hearing complaints among musicians of symphony orchestras. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2009:82(2):153-164.

Kähärit K, Zachau G, Eklöf M, Sandsjö L, Möller C. Assessment of hearing and hearing disorders in rock/jazz musicians. Int J Audiol. 2003:42(5):279-288.

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