Recreational Noise - Induced Hearing Loss Rising Among Younger Adults

Recreational Noise – Induced Hearing Loss Rising Among Younger Adults

It is common to hear about a senior losing their hearing due to age, however, it is another thing to learn about someone in their late 20s or early 30s losing theirs. There is an increasing trend of noise-induced hearing loss in young adults because of exposure to high decibels over time.


The measurement of sound is referred to as decibel (dB) for short. Prolonged exposure to excessive sound level can permanently damage our hearing. As such legislation for worksites is in place to reduce this risk. The legislation is based on:

Level of exposure  X  Duration of exposure =  Risk of hearing damage

By doubling the exposure level we need to half the duration exposure. For example below are two safe exposures:

85 dB  X  8 hours   =   Safe Exposure

88dB X   4 hours  =     Safe Exposure

One can see from this that 3dB increase in sound level doubles our risk of noise induced hearing loss.

Legislation and hearing protection reduces the risk of occupational noise induced hearing loss. However often it is one’s “recreational” noise exposure that has the potential of causing real and permanent hearing loss in younger people.

loud noise

For example, headphones can produce sound levels in excess of 100dB. The safe level of exposure to 100dB is 15 minutes. Yet many people will use headphones to and from work at this level for over an hour each day!

Anecdotally many Audiologists are reporting younger people suffering from noise induced hearing loss without any history of industrial noise exposure. As such it is believed these individuals are experiencing “recreational” noise induced hearing loss. This phenomenon is expected to grow and more research is needed.


If you experience ringing or fullness in your ear after using headphones then it is advisable to reduce the volume level of your headphones. Noise cancelling headphones give a better sound quality at lower sound levels because they  reduce the masking effect of the outside world, e.g noisy train station. Certainly if someone thinks they may be experiencing recreational noise induced  hearing loss then a hearing test would be advised, no matter what age.

recreational noise


The Hearing Care Shop cares about people who are suffering from hearing loss in all its levels. We provide customers with aids and earphones to enable them to listen to their favourite music, watch their shows or communicate with their loved ones.

We offer a wide range of wireless headphones designed for people experiencing some form of hearing impairment.