Dr. Alex Meibos of The University of Akron and Dr. Heather Malyuk of Soundcheck Audiology are researching isolation and output levels of in-ear monitors (IEMs). Throughout the music industry, IEMs are used in a variety of settings from studio recording to live performance. IEMs can pose a threat to every music industry professional's main piece of gear--their auditory system. These unregulated devices have no guidelines for marketing or education and, as such, consumers are often told by manufacturers and audiologists alike that they are "safe" if they utilize IEMs. This research aims not to create regulation, but to give awareness and increase education of IEM types, materials, and abilities, so that both audiologists and music industry professionals can make fully informed decisions, increasing health-conscious choices, to prevent music-induced hearing disorders such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound), diplacusis (pitch perception issues), dysacusis (distortion), and music-induced hearing loss. By gathering data and increasing awareness of how to choose and use IEMs as well as prevent MIHD, the ultimate aim of this research is to prolong music industry careers.
Realgrey Records will be our testing center for output levels. We will be using an Audioscan Verifit hearing instrument test box (simulated real-ear measurement equipment) to measure sound pressure levels of IEMs from 4 of the most popular manufacturers in the United States. We will measure peak levels of output and measure for distortion.