802 Bookshelf: “Hear The Music – Hearing Loss Prevention For Musicians”

by Marshall Chasin, available at, 88 pages, $9.95, softcover

Volume CIII, No. 7/8July, 2003

Have you ever wondered how your hearing has been affected by all those years of music making? When we spend as much time as we do making music, it only makes good sense to educate ourselves about hearing loss and protection.

If you are looking to take control of your situation in an effort to protect your hearing, “Hear The Music – Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians” is a wonderfully informative book which can help you achieve your goals.

The author, Marshall Chasin, is an audiologist and director of auditory research at the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada in Toronto. I first met the author while attending one of his seminars at a recent meeting of ICSOM. Many attending his seminar were pleased to find his presentation engaging, informative, practical and entertaining. His book is no different and contains much of the information presented at the seminar.

Written especially for the professional musician, Chasin strikes a balance between easy-to-understand explanations of some laws of physics, the anatomy of the ear and practical ways of protecting your hearing.

Since we play different instruments having vastly different timbres and frequency ranges, our hearing protection needs may be quite different. Your choice of hearing protection plays an important role in how effective and satisfied you will be with the results.

This book contains chapters on hearing and hearing loss, factors affecting hearing loss, strategies to reduce music exposure, five fact sheets for musicians and frequently asked questions.

Since there are many different types of hearing protection devices, choosing one that best meets your special needs can be a hit or miss proposition – especially if your choice is an uninformed one. This often results in an unsatisfactory experience, which can lead one to rejecting hearing protection all together. Chasin guides us through the labyrinth of protective devices helping us make an informed choice.

There are special techniques to reduce music exposure depending on the kind of instrument you play – small stringed, large stringed, brass, woodwind, percussion and amplified instruments.

Chasin also makes suggestions for vocalists, dividing them into two categories – solo and non-solo.

The band teacher also gets a nod with suggestions for improving an educational environment through seating placement and changing, adjusting and arranging the space.

This book can answer questions like, “How loud does the music have to be in order to be damaging?” “Can my hearing loss be treated with medicine or surgery?” “I can’t really hear the high end. Are there better plugs?” “I’m a drummer and sometimes when I wear ear plugs my wrists hurt! What is happening?”

If you would like an interesting and informative read which may, in fact, help you save a very precious resource – your hearing – pick up a copy of this great book.

–Jay Blumenthal

The author, Marshall Chasin, can be contacted at The Musicians’ Clinics of Canada web site is: