Caring for musicians’ ears: insights from audiologists and manufacturers reveal need for evidence-based guidelines

<p><i>Objective</i>: This study investigated clinical care delivered to musicians in Australia by audiologists and manufacturers of musicians’ hearing protectors (MHP). <i>Design</i>: Audiologists with experience treating musicians were invited to complete a survey on their service delivery. A second survey was administered to manufacturers of MHPs. <i>Study sample</i>: Four manufacturers of MHP and 31 audiologists completed the surveys. Post hoc analyses were performed comparing the responses of audiologists with more versus less clinical experience; and those with and without musical training. <i>Results</i>: There was considerable variation in the audiological care provided to musicians. Only one-third of audiologists performed pure-tone audiometry prior to MHP fitting, and there was little consistency across the sample in relation to impression taking, preferred attenuation or selection of canal length. There was also significant variation in the manufacturers’ approach to MHP, each of whom provided different recommendations regarding preferred impression techniques and material viscosity. <i>Conclusions</i>: The results of this study reveal lack of consistency across the hearing healthcare sector with respect to care of musicians’ hearing, with potential to impact upon the satisfaction with, and usage of, MHP. There is need for evidence-based, best practice guidelines and training to support clinical audiologists in providing optimal care.</p>