A new study shows that music teachers are routinely exposed to noise levels that could result in hearing loss. Researcher Hans Kunov says, “The hair cells of the inner ear simply crumble under the load, and they don’t grow back again.”

According to Canadian law, noise levels on the job should not exceed 90 decibels, which is the equivalent of a power lawn mower being run over eight hours in a 24-hour period.

Researcher Willy Wong measured the noise exposure of 18 music teachers at 15 high schools in Toronto and found that the peak noise level exceeded 85 decibels for 78% of them. During an average eight-hour day, 39% of them experienced harmful noise levels.

Part of the problem is that most classrooms are constructed with concrete blocks and linoleum, providing a highly reflective sound surface. “The world is louder than we think,” says Wong. “Schools might consider protective measures such as sound baffling and carpet and teachers might?consider [getting] periodic hearing checks.”

When the world gets too loud, the rest of us can wear earplugs, but teachers?especially music teachers?can’t.

Science has a lot to tell us about aliens?but you won?t learn it in school. Some of it definitely not for the squeamish.

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