Musicians found to listen to and enjoy louder music than non-musicians

Individual (dotted line) and mean (solid line) pure tone audiometry results. credit: pro swan (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0278845

Researchers at the University of Manchester Center for Hearing Impairments found that musicians tend to listen to music louder than non-musicians. Antonia Olivia Dolan, Emanuele Perugia and Karolina Kluk asked volunteers to listen to music at a volume level they found enjoyable and noted differences in volume levels between musicians and non-musicians.Findings are published in the journal pro swan.

Rock stars are well known for playing their music loud, and many who listen to such music have also been known to crank up the volume to deafening levels. But do musicians (and not just rock stars) prefer to listen to music louder than most other people? That was the question the research trio asked themselves. To find out, they asked 34 of his people (half musicians) to listen to music samples.

Each volunteer was asked to set the volume to their preferred level while listening to six different songs. During that time, the researchers wrote down and recorded the sound level. The researchers then repeated the entire exercise two more times. The researchers also asked each volunteer to complete a questionnaire designed to elicit data on their lifetime noise exposure. got it.

Examining that data, the researchers found that musicians tended to listen louder than non-musicians, especially when listening to songs they liked (11 dB higher on average). They also noted, not surprisingly, that musicians were often exposed to loud noises throughout their lives.

The researchers didn’t ask the musicians why they made the music louder, but they suggest it could be due to differences in the part of the brain that registers what is fun in music. It is very likely that you pointed out that listening to music at a louder level allows your ears and brain to hear more of what is happening in a particular song. The singer’s voice cannot be heard unless the music is turned up. Musicians as a group tend to want to hear everything that’s going on. This is a habit formed by playing and listening as part of an ensemble.

For more information:
Antonia Olivia Dolan et al. Preferred Music Listening Levels of Musicians and Non-Musicians, pro swan (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0278845

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