Hearing Loss

Whether you are a young musician with perfect hearing, sitting in a large orchestra setting with trumpets blaring behind you, or you are more advanced in years and your ears aren’t quite what they used to be, it is important to take time to ensure that you are preserving and maintaining good auditory health.  While Beethoven, once deaf, may have found a way to feel the music by cutting off piano legs and feeling vibrations in the floor, that would prove to be a more challenging pursuit for oboists.  That, and it drove him mad in the process.  Not the best route for maintaining a successful music career.

Instead, here are some links to a highly published author in auditory research in relation to music:

The Musicians’ Clinic was established by Dr. Marshall Chasin, Director of Auditory Research, along with Dr. John Chong, Director of Musician’s Injuries, in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario.  The golden find on this site http://www.musiciansclinics.com/articles.asp is a collection of 35 articles written by Dr. Chasin on auditory health divided into five categories: music and the prevention of hearing loss, music and hearing aids, language and hearing aids, acoustics, and other.

Dr. Marshall Chasin has another website http://marshallchasinassociates.ca/.   View the FAQ page for answers to music related questions concerning hearing.  The collection of 35 articles available for download in pdf format mentioned previously is located here, on the article page, as well.

Finally, http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearthemusic/ is the blog written by Dr. Chasin with new entries posted each week.

Musician’s Health Advice from Scotland

Patrice Berque, based in Glasgow, Scotland, is a professional musician turned trained physiotherapist with a focus in Performing Arts Medicine.   “He is involved in research in the field of Performing Arts Medicine, and had publications in “Medical Problems of Performing Artists” (USA), “Médecine des Arts” (France), “Physiotherapy” (UK), “Manual Therapy” (UK), “Neurology” (USA). (1)”

Berque’s “advice download” page at http://musicianshealth.co.uk/ offers a variety of perfomance health related information.  Links of particular interest are:

Exercise for Musicians- Play Fit, Not Flat! by Bronwen Ackermann
The benefits of cardiovascular fitness for strength and endurance and the importance of carefully planned weight training is addressed.  Specifically mentioned is balanced shoulder muscles and the need for strengthening muscles between the shoulder blades to balance the overworked rotator cuff and pectoral muscles.  Stretching, yoga, pilates and balance programs are recommended.

Physiotherapy and Dystonia by Patrice Berque
Berque has a specific interest in focal hand dystonia, having been motivated to pursue his medical research by dystonia onset.  He briefly discusses constraint-induced therapy through the use of splints and motor control retraining.

Preventing Muskuloskeletal Injury (MSI) for Musicians and Dancers
A 135 page resource guide written by Dan Robinson, Joanna Zander, and B.C. Research for SHAPE (Safety Health in Arts Production and Entertainment) in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Some papers Berque has written are available for download with permission from the publisher at http://www.musicianshealth.co.uk/biography.html#publications.  Also, a series of resources are available on the links page: http://www.musicianshealth.co.uk/links.html

(1) Quotation from Berque’s bibliography page at http://musicianshealth.co.uk/biography.html.

In Defense of Musician’s Health

It is rare that I meet a musician who has not developed at least one instrument specific physical ailment.  And yet it also a topic rarely discussed.  When I encountered my own oboe-induced physical roadblocks, the amount of searching, time, and financial resources required was astounding.

My goal in making this bibliography public is to help those who are searching for answers to health questions unique to the double reed world.  I am not medically trained, though I am fascinated by the mechanics of the human body.  And in no way is this information intended to replace the need for medical help from professionals.  But being well informed as a patient can expedite both the hunt for answers and healing time.

Each page on the blog is a different portion of the bibliography, divided generally by topic with over 190 sources.  If you have difficulty finding any of the original sources, I have archived where each was found and would be happy to forward the information.

I will continue adding online resources and links over time as well.  Recommendations welcome.

This a non-profit blog, a free musician’s health education for all.  Please forward this site to anyone who may find it useful!