The CWU Music Department as required by the National Association of Schools of Music, is obligated to inform students, faculty and staff of the health and safety issues, hazards, and procedures inherent in music practice, performance, teaching, and listening both in general and as applicable to their specific specializations. This includes but is not limited to basic information regarding the maintenance of hearing, vocal, and musculoskeletal health and injury prevention. This also includes instruction on the use, proper handling, and operation of potentially dangerous materials, equipment, and technology as applicable to specific program offerings or experiences.
We have developed policies and procedures to guard against injury and illness in the study and practice of music, as well as to raise the awareness among our students, faculty and staff of the connections between musicians' health, the suitability and safety of equipment and technology, and the acoustic and other health-related conditions in the university's practice, rehearsal, and performance facilities.
It is important to note that the primary factor in your health and safety is you and depends largely on your personal decisions. You are personally responsible for avoiding risk and preventing injuries to yourself before, during, and after study at CWU The policies and procedures developed by the Music Department do not alter or cancel any individual's personal responsibility, or in any way shift personal responsibility for the results of any individual's personal decisions or actions in any instance or over time to the university.
Anyone who practices, rehearses or performs instrumental or vocal music has the potential to suffer injury related to the activity. Students are encouraged to supplement information obtained in their lessons, master classes, and guest lectures regarding musicians' health and safety issues by utilizing some of the resources listed on this website.
Instrumental musicians are at risk for repetitive motion injuries or physical problems related to playing their instruments; and if they are also computer users, their risks are compounded. Instrumental injuries may include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and bursitis.
Likewise, the demands placed on singers' voices are vast. Singers can be forced to cancel a recital or tour, take a break, or undergo a medical procedure due to problems with their voice. Vocalists can suffer from vocal fatigue, anxiety, throat tension, and pain. Musicians use their bodies in specific and highly trained ways, and injuries can occur that can have lasting impact on performance ability. Performers need to be aware of vocal and musculoskeletal health issues that can affect them. Musicians at all levels of achievement can suffer from repetitive stress injuries, neuromuscular conditions or dystonias, and psychological issues including severe performance anxiety.
Incorrect posture, nonergonomic technique, excessive force, overuse, stress, and insufficient rest contribute to chronic injuries that can cause pain, disability, and the end of a musician's career. Additional factors such as nutrition, smoking, drug use, noisy environments, and proper training (or the lack of it) all play a role in a musician's ability to perform at her/his best.
(adapted from "Protecting Your Hearing Health" by NASM-PAMA)
Recommended maximum daily exposure times
(NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:
Certain behaviors (controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, turning down the volume) reduce your risk of hearing loss. Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds. See chart above.
The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health.
Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future.
Since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily, even hourly basis.
It is important to follow basic hearing health guidelines. It is also important to study this issue and learn more. If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional. If you are concerned about your hearing health in relationship to your program of study, consult the appropriate contact person at your institution.
Hearing Conservation Policy
As good hearing is crucial to musicians, and data collected in the average music school practice room, teaching studios, and rehearsal rooms found average intensity values that were greater than OSHA action levels for a hearing conservation program, therefore Central Washington University Department of Music has instituted a Hearing Loss Prevention Program for all students. Occupational hearing loss is insidious, slowly advancing for many years before individuals are aware of their impairment. This type of hearing loss is not medically treatable and is permanent.
All new students will attend a yearly instructional program that includes motivational information about:
In addition, all faculty will be instructed in the importance of the program and on ways they can be instrumental in the prevention of hearing problems in students. Faculty will also be encouraged to have their own hearing tested annually.
Hearing Healthcare Specialist
Ear Plug Sites
Vocal Health Specialist
More Vocal Health Resources
Protecting Your Musculoskeletal Health
Musculoskeletal Health Specialist
Protecting Your Hearing Health
Musculoskeletal Health Resources
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