Melbourne-based indie musician and research audiologist Siobhan McGinnity has set up the Musicians for Hearing charity to help improve the hearing health of the Melbourne music community, and to raise awareness of noise-induced hearing loss.
The keyboard player for the Melbourne-based indie rock quartet Sons of Rico, McGinnity is both an active musician and clinically-trained audiologist. She is interested in how musicians and music aficionados could better manage and protect their hearing health against noise-induced hearing loss.
Through a scholarship provided by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) at The University of Melbourne, McGinnity is currently investigating practical and cost-effective ways to reduce or prevent hearing loss from exposure to high sound levels within live music settings. The HEARing CRC supports Musicians for Hearing through its HEARsmart Initiative.
“My PhD is focused on identifying safe listening behaviors for live music, so it doesn’t impact either hearing ability or enjoyment of music,” said McGinnity in an announcement from the HEARing CRC.
With hearing loss expected to affect one in four Australians by 2050, McGinnity sees a lack of awareness and education about how exposure to frequent and loud sounds can impact hearing as the critical problem. “The modern reality is that anyone can be affected by hearing loss, including young people who unknowingly expose their ears in noisy environments that can cause the onset of permanent hearing loss and tinnitus a lot earlier in life,” said McGinnity. “We only have one set of ears to last our lifetime and we need to protect and manage our hearing, just as we do our vision and other senses.”
Through Musicians for Hearing and the HEARing CRC’s HEARsmart initiative, McGinnity hopes to help raise awareness in musicians, music lovers, and the general public. Her aim is to provide the tools to help people assess their individual risk and to adopt safe listening behaviors that will let them enjoy what they love to hear. She founded Musicians for Hearing to raise money for hearing care in the developing world through music, share that music with the Deaf community, and encourage conversation, in particular amongst musicians, about hearing awareness and hearing protection.
Musicians for Hearing had its first gig in August 2015 at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The event was headlined by many local musicians interested in promoting hearing health. The proceeds from the event went to All Ears Cambodia.
PHOTO- Siobhan McGinnity at work as an audiologist
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