“Is there someone in my town who can work with musicians?”
That’s the number one question I am asked–usually by email but sometimes by snail mail.
I’m usually fairly “lucky” in that I know someone who practices at least near the writer, so I can send the person in the right direction. But luck carries me only so far. This brings up two related issues: (1) We should have a list of hearing health care professionals who feel comfortable working with people in the performing arts; (2) there should be a list of minimal knowledge requirements that all hearing health care professionals working with musicians and others in the performing arts should possess.
While I may sound slightly paternalistic by requiring a minimum set of tools, I think we are now at the point of addressing both these issues. The first book on musicians and the prevention of hearing loss was published almost 20 years ago (1996), and this topic is frequently discussed at state, provincial, and national conferences as well as in the research and clinical literature.
Let’s deal with each issue separately. The first part in this two-part series, will discuss only the establishment. In part two, a set of minimum requirements will be proposed.
MAKING A LIST
(1) A list of hearing health care professionals who at least feel comfortable working with people in the performing arts should be established.
This is predicated on the assumption that virtually everything that we can do clinically for our clients who are not in the performing arts can be altered or modified to be more applicable to the musician. I think that this is a fairly valid assumption.
Note that I did not restrict this list to audiologists. I think that anyone working with hard of hearing people regardless of how they came to be in this field, probably has the basic tools at their disposal. Hearing health care professionals can be audiologists, hearing instrument specialists, or physicians. Each can bring their own skill set to the task at hand. If someone routinely works with non-musicians, then their skills can be transferable to working in the performing arts.
Another issue is whether these hearing health care professionals would want to work with musicians and others in the performing arts. Some practitioners may prefer to work only with children, or with senior citizens, or to spend as much time as they can on counselling and recommending assistive listening devices.
At this point I would like to invite anyone who is interested in working with musicians and other performers to send me your name, clinic name (where applicable), contact address, and your town, province/state, and country. Please send this information to me at [email protected] and I will establish a list at www.MusiciansClinics.com. At this stage, the list will simply include names of hearing health care professionals who have demonstrated an interest in working in this area.
If anyone already has a list of names and email contracts of such people, please also forward that to me as well.
In a second stage (which will take some time), a set of minimum requirements will be developed and provided to those who are interested.