If God Can Hear Your Most Inner Thoughts… Why are Praise Bands so Loud?
Jan Moore, Elizabeth Lewis, Courtney Smejdir, & Kassandra Johnson University of Nebraska Kearney
Disclosures • Jan Moore is a Professor at UNK – Treasurer for Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology
• UNK provided standard faculty and student travel funding to attend ASHA • No funding or support to conduct the study • No commercial ties to industry • No conflicts of interest
Research Team • Jan Moore – Professor, University of Nebraska Kearney
• Elizabeth Lewis • Courtney Smejdir • Kassandra Johnson – All undergraduate student researchers at the time of the study – All graduate students at UNK or UNL
Background • Contemporary or Praise Band services have been an increasingly popular worship style for Protestant faiths over the last 20 years. • Gone are the days of an acoustic guitar and “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” • Now we have full-fledged rock bands at worship services
Pertinent Background • Noise-induced S/N hearing loss has been well documented in – Rock musicians – Orchestral musicians – Band musicians – Just living in NYC
• Silva & Cabral (2011) found priests in Brazilian churches were are risk for hearing loss due to noise levels.
How Churches Respond to Concerns about Sound Levels • A quick search of the internet yields considerable interest in this topic within the Church community. – Churches consistently tell members the music level does not exceed OSHA standards • 5 dB rule (time/intensity trade off) in contrast to a 3 dB rule recommended by the NIOSH/CDC • How do they know that? • Do they monitor their members’ hearing overtime?
• Churches blame their members – “If it is too loud for you there is something wrong with your hearing.”
• Churches say “discomfort” does not mean “harm.” • Churches actually provide hearing protection
• One church calculated that one service was 13% of the daily OSHA dose – Average dose was 9—11% – Clergy and band was 35% of their dose for 2 services. – Why would you want your service to contribute anything to someone’s daily dose?
• On a very personal note, I wrote to my church and expressed my concern about the loudness level. – If mothers are trying to cover their infant’s ears during a service, it is just too loud. – Minister exceeds 90 dB A during the sermon – The wooden pews vibrate during the music
Public Health Issue • We are interested in investigating the risk of hearing loss in praise band members, clergy, and parishioners (including children) who attend these services. • NIH’s It’s a Noisy Planet public health initiative suggests any exposure above 85 dB (A) can lead to hearing loss over time. • Our team looks at exposure to noise in churches as a public health issue
UNK Praise the Lord Project • Does the noise level at contemporary services suggest there is a risk for permanent S/N hearing loss consistent with noise exposure? • What are the challenges in measuring noise in the contemporary services
UNK Praise the Lord Project • Do parishioners, clergy, and other worship staff exhibit a change in hearing (TTS) following these services? • Is there long-term hearing loss over time? • What is the best method to detect change?
Method • The noise levels of 3 Protestant church services were sampled – UNK Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) – First United Methodist Church (FUMC) – Evangelical Free Church (E-Free)
• Services were recorded in the fall during the liturgical season of After Pentecost – Covert recordings – Multiple recordings at each site
Method • No special services (Easter, Christmas) • Catholic Church services were excluded due to the standardization of their order of worship • Contemporary Services typically have – More music – Longer durations of continuous music
• Dosimetry • LENA
Dosimetry • Quest NoisePro Dosimeter TM
– 2-hour run time • Individual sessions for songs to try to isolate the contribution of the music to the noise levels measured
– Slow time response – Calibrated – Obtained Min, Max, Average and Dose information for each service
• Language Environmental Analysis – LENA Research Foundation – Boulder, CO
• Lena Pro digital recorder – Application is in language development • Adult words, child words, turn-taking
– Records time spent in noise and electronic media – 5-minute intervals for analysis
Dosimetry Results: Full Service Max & Average Church
Duration Maximum dBA
Dosimetry Results: Individual Songs
Duration Maximum dBA
Lena Results • Lena was utilized in one service to look at noise segments in 5-minute intervals. • Over half of the service—30 minutes— was music. – Essentially a concert.
Lena Results • Lena also allows the measurement of the signal in the 5-minute intervals • The dB levels as recorded by Lena indicated levels exceeded 85 dB A for all segments • Compression within the microphone of the digital recorder. – Designed for speech not noise
Results • Our results suggest the loudness levels in contemporary services puts people at risk for N/I S/N hearing loss • Who is at risk? – Clergy – Band members – Parishioners • How often do you attend?
Challenges • How to measure the parts of the services which are loud? • Duration of the music? • How do we measure change in hearing? – Which methods? • Conventional audiometry? • OAE?
– How often? • Pre-Post • Yearly
What is the Public Health Message? • We can’t control much of the noise we are exposed to in our lives • The environments that we can control should be safe • Institutions should be committed or at least interested in not contributing to N/I S/N hearing loss. • Those environments would include schools, churches, & public places
Comments? • Suggestions? • Questions? • [email protected]