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Health and Safety Information


It is important that proper precautions are made in protecting yourself from hearing loss. Decibel levels exceeding 90 or more should be limited to no more than 2-3 hours per day.  Therefore it is essential to not have 3 or more large ensemble rehearsals back to back.  Students are encouraged to supplement information obtained in their lessons, master classes, and guest lectures regarding musicians' health and safety issues by utilizing some of the resources listed below.

Decibel (Loudness) Comparison Chart

Here are some interesting numbers, collectetd from a variety of sources that help one to understand the volume levels of various sources and how they can affect our hearing.

Environmental Noise
Weakest sound heard 0 dB
Whisper Quiet Library at 6' 30 dB
Normal conversation at 3' 60-65 dB
Telephone dial tone 80 dB
City Traffic (inside car) 85 dB
Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic 90 dB
Jackhammer at 50' 95 dB
Subway train at 200' 95 dB
Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss 90-95 dB
Hand Drill 98 dB
Power mower at 3' 107 dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle 100 dB
Power saw at 3' 110 dB
Sandblasting, Loud Rock Concert 115 dB
Pain begins 125 dB
Pneumatic riveter at 4' 125 dB
Even short term exposure can cause permanent damage - Loudest recommended exposure WITH hearing protection 140 dB
Jet engine at 100' 140 dB
12 Guage shotgun blast 165 dB
Death of hearing tissue 180 dB
Loudest sound possible 194 dB
OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound Level
8 90 dB
6 92 dB
4 95 dB
3 97 dB
2 100 dB
1.5 102 dB
1 105 dB
.5 110 dB
.25 or less 115 dB
NIOSH Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
Hours per day Sound Level
8 85 dBA
6 86 dBA
4 88 dBA
3 89 dBA
2 90 dBA
1.5 92 dBA
1 94 dBA
.5 97 dBA
Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level
Imperceptible Change 1 dB
Barely Perceptible Change 3 dB
Clearly Noticeable Change 5 dB
About Twice as Loud 10 dB
About Four Times as Loud 20 dB
Sound Levels of Music
Normal piano proctice 60-70 dB
Fortissimo Singer, 3' 70 dB
Chamber music, small auditorium 75-85 dB
Piano Fortissimo 84-103 dB
Violin 82-92 dB
Cello 85-111 dB
Oboe 95-112 dB
Flute 92-103 dB
Piccolo 90-106 dB
Clarinet 85-114 dB
French horn 90-106 dB
Trombone 85-114 dB
Tympani & bass drum 106 dB
Walkman on 5/10 94 dB
Symphonic music peak 120-137 dB
Amplifer, rock, 4-6' 120 dB
Rock music peak 150 dB


Practicing properly is essential to every musician's best interest.  Please refer to your applied teacher in utilizing proper techniques and exposure to prolonged strain on muscle groups, tendons, and bones associated withyour instrument or voice.




Students working as stage managers in Brock, Foster or Campbell must complete a training session on how to safely move the grand pianos on stage.  Contact Greg Sexton for information.

Students working as audio/recording technicians must complete a training session on how to safely use the sound system and recording equipment, and how to safely lift and carry stage monitors.  Contact Dennis Davis for information.


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