Can You Hear Me Now: Work Related Injuries for Musicians

Posted by James Aspell | Aug 12, 2009 | 0 Comments

Reprinted with permission from a posting by Julie Ferguson at Worker's Comp Insider Last week, 61-year old rock musician Steven Tyler fell off the stage and suffered a broken shoulder, along with stitches in his head and back. He has had to cancel upcoming shows, though it's likely he'll be on a self-imposed return-to-work plan in the near future. Many musicians are like athletes in their devotion to their profession and their determination to return to work as soon as feasible. (Not to mention the economic impact of canceling shows, which although there is event cancellation insurance for that type of thing, still must take a bite from a musician's earnings.) Falling off stages isn't all that unusual a work-related occurrence for musicians and other performers. Celebrity spills are a favorite fare on the Internet, with video clips drawing millions of viewers and little sympathy. Fashion model falls seem to be a particular favorite for the YouTubers, and frequently available given that a job-related hazard for models is teetering around on ridiculous footwear. But despite the vicarious pleasure that many viewers take in seeing pop culture icons coming down to earth, slips and falls are nothing to take lightly - they are one of the most common injuries in many professions, resulting in disabling injuries. They are also a leading source of fatalities in the construction industry. Injuries beyond the fallsWe went looking for more information about musician injuries and came upon Looking at Musicians' Health Through the Ages, an examination of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) from the scholarly Medical Problems of Performing Artists. This is a publication that bills itself as "...the first clinical medical journal devoted to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of medical and psychological disorders related to the performing arts. Original peer-reviewed research papers cover topics including neurologic disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, voice and hearing disorders, anxieties, stress, substance abuse, disorders of aging, and other health issues related to actors, dancers, singers, musicians, and other performers. Alas, the interesting articles entitled "Bagpiper's Hernia" and "The Psychological Profile of a Rock Band: Using Intellectual and Personality Measures with Musicians" are available only to subscribers. For some other sites related to musician injuries, see Musician's Health, an educational website devoted to common musician's injuries and information on preventing those injuries. Instrumental injuries often include similar repetitive motion injuries to those that are commonly associated with computer use. Musicians' Injuries describes various types of performance-related injuries and offers advice on how to avoid them. Hearing-related injuries are common for musicians Hearing loss is another risk for musicians and conductors - and not just for rock musicians, as might be commonly assumed. Doug Owens, a USM music education professor and trumpet player who has experienced hearing loss himself, has been studying the issue of hearing loss and musicians. For his doctoral dissertation, he had ten high school band directors wear noise monitors for two days on the job. "Owens found they were exposed to mean average noise levels of 85 to 93 decibels, similar to a vacuum cleaner or a leaf blower. Noise exposures peaked at 101 to 115 decibels, similar to a jackhammer or a crowd at a basketball game. Comparing eight-hour exposure rates, Owen found noise levels for all of the band directors were more than three times higher than recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health." In learning more about this topic, we also discovered H.E.A.R., a site with an acronym that stands for Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers. The site describes itself as "a non-profit grassroots hearing health organization of hearing professionals, audiologists, ear doctors, educators, music industry professionals, and musicians dedicated to the prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus for musicians, music students, recording engineers, music industry professionals and music fans, especially young people." The site offers the latest in hearing-related research, news and advice, along with a quick and easy test to assess whether concerts are harming your hearing. _________________________________________________ If You have been injured on the job in Connecticut please call us to discuss your legal options. At the Law offices of James F. Aspell, P.C. you get small firm service with big firm results.

About the Author

James Aspell

Principal since August 1, 2006 James F. Aspell is the principal and managing attorney of the firm which he started in 2006 following 20 years of litigation practice in a mid -size firm in Hartford, Connecticut. Jim focuses his practice in the areas of worker's compensation and personal injury l...

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