Pure-tone audiometry (PTA) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) were determined in 57 classical orchestral musicians along with a questionnaire inquiry using a modified Amsterdam Inventory for Auditory Disability and Handicap ((m)AIADH). Data on musicians' working experience and sound pressure levels produced by various groups of instruments were also collected. Measured hearing threshold levels (HTLs) were compared with the theoretical predictions calculated according to ISO 1999:1990. High frequency notched audiograms typical for noise-induced hearing loss were found in 28% of the subjects. PTA and TEOAE consistently showed a tendency toward better hearing in females vs. males, younger vs. older subjects, and lower- vs. higher-exposed to orchestral noise subjects. Audiometric HTLs were better than theoretical predictions in the frequency range of 2000-4000 Hz. The (m)AIADH scores indicated some hearing difficulties in relation to intelligibility in noisy environment in 26% of the players. Our results indicated a need to implement a hearing conservation program for this professional group.
The main purpose of this investigation was to measure the effect of contralateral acoustic stimulation (CAS) on distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) in twenty human ears, for a ratio of primary tones f2/f1 = 1.22 and a wide frequency range of f2 (1.4-9 kHz), for two intensity levels of primary tones (L1 = 60 dB SPL; L2 = 50 dB SPL and L1 = 70 dB SPL; L2 = 60 dB SPL) and two intensity levels of CAS (50 and 60 dB SPL). It was found that in the presence of CAS, in the majority of cases the DPOAE level decreased (suppression), but it might also increase (enhancement) or remain unchanged depending on the frequency. The mean suppression level of the component of the frequency fDP = 2f1 f2 might be approximated by a linearly decreasing function of the f2 frequency of primary tones. The slope of this function was negative and increased with an increase of the contralateral stimulation level. The higher was the contralateral noise level the greater was the suppression. For the fDP level below about 15 dB SPL, suppression was observed in a substantial number of measurement cases (in about 85% of all measured cases on average). When the fDP level was higher than 15 dB SPL, only suppression (not enhancement) was observed.