Preserving your hearing is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a professional musician. Hearing loss is not inevitable; you can take precautions and protect yourself. The first step is testing. Every musician should have a hearing test to establish a base line from which any changes can be noted, followed by regular tests to monitor changes. Audiogists recommend that you have your hearing tested at least once a year.
Local 802 and the Local 802 Health Benefits Fund have sought out providers with a record of concern about worker health issues, who are willing to offer audiological screening tests for members at minimal costs.
Mount Sinai-Irving Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1391 Madison Ave., New York, (212) 987-6043.
Local 802 and other unions have been working with the Irving Selikoff Center on a variety of worker health issues for a number of years. The Center has established the Musician’s Injury Prevention Program and continues to be a valuable resource for 802 members.
The center has agreed to conduct hearing tests at Local 802 on Wednesday, April 5, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Wednesday, May 10, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The testing will be done by a certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist at the following frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 6000 and 8000 Hz. Each member who is tested will receive a copy of the results, along with any recommendations.
You must call Amy Wilcox at (212) 241-4301 to schedule an appointment. If you have insurance coverage through the Local 802 Health Benefits Plan, the test will be covered except for any deductibles and co-payments. If you have no health care coverage, the cost will be $35. And if you cannot afford the cost, a free test can be arranged through the Musicians’ Assistance Program at Local 802.
Columbia University Center for Hearing Conservation, 16 East 60th St., Suite 360, New York, (212) 326-8475.
The Columbia University Center for Hearing Conservation has been developed as a source of hearing conservation information and services for musicians, music industry professionals and music fans. Their providers include audiologists and otolaryngologists from the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The Columbia University Center will offer audiological screenings on the third Monday of every month for Local 802 members. There will be no cost to the individual, but you will be asked to provide proof of Local 802 membership. You must phone the center (at the number listed above) to schedule a screening appointment, to ensure that adequate time is reserved for the evaluation.
The testing will include: 1. Pure-tone screening, audiometry (500-4000 Hz), 2. Otoscopic evaluation, 3. Tympanometric screening and 4. Counseling regarding music-induced hearing loss and its prevention.
The Center for Speech and Hearing Sciences, Inc., 44 Milltown Rd., E. Brunswick, NJ 08816, (732) 238-1664 or (908) 735-7123.
The Center for Speech and Hearing Sciences in New Jersey has a good deal of experience in dealing with the specific needs of musicians. One of the center’s clinical audiologists, Ellen Kelly, M.S. CCC-A, is a member of the board of the Irving Selikoff Center and has long been an advocate for worker health issues.
The testing will include: 1. Pure-tone screening audiometry at frequencies 250-8000 Hz, 2. Otoscopic examination, 3. Tympanometry, 4. Counseling regarding music-induced hearing loss. Written information and counseling are also available on the various forms of hearing protection; in-ear monitors, noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and other audiologic issues.
Hearing tests at the New Jersey Center cost $40. If you are on the Local 802 Health Plan, the test will be covered (except for any deductibles and co-payments). The Center is seeking to become a MagnaCare provider, in which case the tests will cost $10 for Local 802 Health Benefits Plan members. If you are not on the health plan and cannot afford the test, a free test can be arranged through the Musicians’ Assistance Program at Local 802.
HEARx is a commercial provider of audiological testing and hearing aids. They are part of the MagnaCare Network and their services are therefore covered by the Local 802 Health Benefits Plan. If you are covered by the plan your cost is $10. Their offices are located throughout the metropolitan area. Call their toll-free number – (800) 698-6767 – for locations.