The following information is based on documents provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in partnership with the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA). As a member of NASM, CSUSB's Department of Music is concerned that all students in music classes at CSUSB, regardless of their major or performance area, practice healthy habits when using their hearing, vocal, and general neuromuscular and skeletal physiology for music coursework. That concern encompasses both in-class and out-of-class work, and it includes activities and behavior that, while not directly related to coursework, still affects students' health in course-related activities.
The information presented here is generic and advisory in nature. It is not a substitute for professional, medical judgments, and it does not in anyway overrule CSUSB or CSU-system policies regarding health and safety. It should not be used as a basis for medical treatment. If you are concerned about your health or think you may have suffered injury, consult a licensed medical professional. Music students with questions or concerns about their health are encouraged to contact CSUSB's Environmental Health and Safety Department. EHS has comprehensive responsibility on campus for identifying, evaluating, and controlling any potential hazards or threats to health and safety. EHS is the best source of information regarding university- and CSU system-wide health and safety policies.
Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. Your hearing can be permanently damaged by loud sounds, including music. Technically, this is called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Such danger is constant.
Noise-induced hearing loss is generally preventable, but you must avoid over exposure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time. The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms. Sounds over 85 dB (decibels), about the level of a typical vacuum cleaner in intensity, pose the greatest risk to your hearing. Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, recommended maximum daily exposure times to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:
- 85 dB (vacuum cleaner, MP3 player at 1/3 volume) – 8 hours
- 90 dB (blender, hair dryer) – 2 hours
- 94 dB (MP3 player at 1/2 volume) – 1 hour
- 100 dB (MP3 player at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 minutes
- 110 dB (rock concert, power tools) – 2 minutes
- 120 dB (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate
Certain behaviors, such as controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, using of earplugs and earmuffs, and turning down the volume, reduce your risk of hearing loss. Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds!
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 take care of your own hearing health on a daily, even hourly basis. If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional. If you are concerned about your hearing health in your music classes, consult your instructor.
Vocal health is important for all musicians and essential to lifelong success for singers. Understanding basic care of the voice is essential for musicians who speak, sing, and rehearse or teach others. Practicing, rehearsing, and performing music is physically demanding, and so musicians are susceptible to numerous vocal disorders.
Many vocal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable. Prevention is in part a function of your daily vocal behavior. For example, sufficient warm-up time is important. Begin warming up mid-range, and then slowly work outward to vocal pitch extremes. Good posture, adequate breath support, and correct physical technique are also are essential. Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical or vocal stress and strain. It is also important to set a reasonable limit on the amount of time that you will practice in a day. Avoid sudden increases in practice times. Know your voice and its limits, and avoid overdoing it or misusing it. Finally, drink plenty of water in order to keep your vocal folds adequately lubricated, limit your use of alcohol, and avoid smoking.
Day-to-day decisions can impact your vocal health, both now and in the future. Since vocal strain and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you need to take care of your vocal health outside of classroom and practice activities. Avoid shouting, screaming, or other strenuous vocal use, and if you are concerned about your personal vocal health, talk with a medical professional. Don't let potential injuries worsen by delaying treatment. If you are concerned about your vocal health in your music classes, consult your instructor.
Neuromuscular and skeletal health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. Because practicing and performing music is often physically demanding, musicians are susceptible to numerous neuromuscular and skeletal disorders. Some musculoskeletal disorders are related to behavior, while others are genetic. Still others are the result of trauma or injury. Some genetic conditions can increase a person's risk of developing certain behavior-related disorders. Regardless of the cause, many neuromuscular and skeletal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable.
Prevention is aided by good daily habits. Sufficient physical and musical warm-up time is important. Good posture and correct physical technique are essential. Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical stress and strain. It is important to set a reasonable limit on the amount of time that you will practice in a day, and avoid sudden increases in practice times. Know your body's limits, and avoid "overdoing it."
Day-to-day decisions can impact your neuromuscular and skeletal health, both now and in the future. Since muscle and joint strains and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to take care of your own neuromuscular and skeletal health on a daily basis. Use good sense in your personal fitness routine, and avoid extreme sports and other similar activities that put heavy strains on muscles, connective tissue, and bones. IF you are concerned about your personal neuromuscular or skeletal health, talk with a medical professional. Don't let potential injuries worsen by delaying treatment. If you are concerned about your neuromuscular or skeletal health in your music classes, consult your instructor.