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Accelerometer, Daily vibration exposure equivalent, Drummer, Frequency-weighted RMS acceleration, Playing-related musculoskeletal disorder



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Due to the physically intense nature of the activity, drummers (i.e., percussionists who play the drum set) are exposed to a variety of factors, including hand-arm vibration (HAV), that put them at increased risk of developing playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). The purpose of this study was to examine HAV exposure in drummers through realistic playing scenarios. Specifically, this study examined vibrations (i.e., frequency-weighted RMS accelerations) recorded at the hands. Six male drummers played three songs of their choosing with one accelerometer placed on the right hand, then repeated the same three songs with the accelerometer placed on the left hand (average playing time of 11.9 minutes per set). Extrapolated A(8) values [A(8)e] were calculated based on the participants’ self-reported typical daily playing time and were compared to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) action limit (AL: 2.5 m/s2) and threshold limit value (TLV: 5.0 m/s2) for HAV exposure. Drummers experienced an average A(8)e of 5.7 m/s2 in the left hand and 6.7 m/s2 in the right hand, which exceeded the ACGIH AL (2.5 m/s2) and TLV (5.0 m/s2) values. Three of the six participants registered A(8) values that exceeded the AL and TLV within the data collection session alone (i.e., without extrapolating based on typical daily playing time). The results demonstrated that drummers are exposed to 8-hour equivalent HAV magnitudes that are similar to those recorded during industrial and athletic tasks. Further HAV exposure analyses with larger sample sizes and incorporating more realistic playing scenarios (i.e., live concert performances) across multiple musical genres and varying drummer skill levels are warranted.

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