We make it our business to understand the challenges faced by musicians in symphony orchestras, bands and educational institutions. Of the varied occupational hazards connected to orchestral and band performance, potential damage to ears and hearing loss are among the greatest concerns.
Whether on stage, in the pit or in a teaching situation, there are some places where decibel levels can be dangerously high in some repertoires.
To date the options available for musicians include alternating seating arrangements and rostering, placing shields and screens strategically throughout the ensemble and the use of individual hearing protectors or ear plugs. However, some of these options result in a change in the performer’s perception of the music and can affect their ability to play. Others are not cost effective solutions.
All orchestras, classical musicians, bands and music students of all ages are dedicated to the highest quality output and yet must limit the impact of continued exposure to high levels of noise. In response to this issue, Symphony Services International produces the Goodear Acoustic Shield.
Based on research undertaken with the six professional Australian symphony orchestras and the Australian Government’s National Acoustic Laboratory, Symphony Services International set out to create a product that would revolutionise the solution to noise damage for performing musicians. Clear, hard plastic shields and screens are still commonly found in many performing ensembles. However, these shields are made with acoustically ‘hard’ materials that reduce sound transmission to the person forward of the source but cause reflections which increase the exposure to the musicians adjacent to the source.
The result of all our research, design and acoustic testing is the Goodear Acoustic Shield.
Acoustic testing of Goodear has been conducted by the National Acoustic Laboratories and Musicians’ Hearing Services. Measurements carried out during rehearsal and concert performances of professional symphony orchestras gave sound reductions of up to 54.3% depending on the location within the orchestra. Musicians positioned adjacent to the barrier receive no discernable increase in sound, compared with an increase of approximately 4dB when sitting adjacent to a hard barrier (eg Perspex). This is because Goodear absorbs noise, rather than reflecting it towards others.
The padded head-piece provides excellent acoustic properties that minimises both sound transmission and reflections. The height can be varied but no other adjustment is required, which reduces the possibility of placement error. The design gives clear forward and sideways sight lines for the user while ensuring maximum noise reduction through correct alignment with the ears.
The Goodear headpiece is adjustable and can be connected to any stand. You can simply use your own stands, or you can purchase our robust tripod stand which has a matt black finish, and gels nicely with the aesthetics of the performance environment.
The following documentation on the Goodear Acoustic Shield is available for download.
Dilek Henderson, Finance Manager
p: +61 (0)2 8622 9452
f: +61 (0)2 8622 9422