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June 1960

Pure-Tone Thresholds of Professional Pianists

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Research, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1960;71(6):938-947. doi:10.1001/archotol.1960.03770060050007

The Problem  A few years ago a friendly dispute arose among some staff members of this hospital over the question whether the suddenly noticed hearing loss of a young concert pianist might have been caused by his constant exposure to piano sound. While one surgeon of eminent reputation believed in the possibility of chronic acoustic trauma produced by daily piano practice, several other otolaryngologists with audiologic experience doubted this assumption on the ground of acoustic considerations.In order to settle the argument in a scientifically reliable manner, we decided to investigate this problem more systematically. It was felt that the suggestion of acoustic trauma as a result of musical practice either had to be ruled out conclusively or had to be confirmed by a sufficient number of observations.The disputed case concerned a professional concert pianist who was then 36 years old. His army service was spent in an office,

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