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If God Can Hear Your Most Inner Thoughts… Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Jan Moore, Elizabeth Lewis, Courtney Smejdir, & Kassandra.

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Presentation on theme: "If God Can Hear Your Most Inner Thoughts… Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Jan Moore, Elizabeth Lewis, Courtney Smejdir, & Kassandra."— Presentation transcript:

1 If God Can Hear Your Most Inner Thoughts… Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Why are Praise Bands so Loud? Jan Moore, Elizabeth Lewis, Courtney Smejdir, & Kassandra Johnson University of Nebraska Kearney

2 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

3 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

4 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

5 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.

6 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?

7 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

8 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?

9 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

10 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

11 Noisy Planet


13 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

14 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?

15 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

16 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


18 Dosimetry Quest NoisePro TM Dosimeter –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

19 LENA TM 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

20 Dosimetry Results: Full Service Max & Average ChurchDurationMaximum dBAAverage dBA CSF1:08:53107.284.4 46:06108.166.5 Efree 47:06106:078:3 1:16:40 92:474.5 58:00 97.077.7 49:17 97.479.5 FUMC1:08:09 97.782.3 1:08:09 97.778.6 1:00:00 96.677.7 1:10:00114.273.5

21 Dosimetry Results: Individual Songs ChurchDurationMaximum dBAAverage dBA CSF6:1593.178.4 Efree11:13103.291.8 7:54100.167.6 7.26106.075.8 6:5994.278.8 5:3793.679.3 5:1293.272.8 4:1893.480.1 2:07112.694.3

22 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.

23 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



26 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?

27 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

28 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

29 Comments? Suggestions? Questions?

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