Music exposure and hearing disorders: an overview

Int J Audiol. 2010 Jan;49(1):54-64. doi: 10.3109/14992020903202520.


It has been generally accepted that excessive exposure to loud music causes various hearing symptoms (e.g. tinnitus) and consequently leads to a risk of permanent hearing damage, known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Such potential risk of NIHL due to loud music exposure has been widely investigated in musicians and people working in music venues. With advancements in sound technology and rapid developments in the music industry, increasing numbers of people, particularly adolescents and young adults, are exposing themselves to music on a voluntary basis at potentially harmful levels, and over a substantial period of time, which can also cause NIHL. However, because of insufficient audiometric evidence of hearing loss caused purely by music exposure, there is still disagreement and speculation about the risk of hearing loss from music exposure alone. Many studies have suggested using advanced audiological measurements as more sensitive and efficient tools to monitor hearing status as early indicators of cochlear dysfunction. The purpose of this review is to provide further insight into the potential risk of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud music, and thus contribute to further raising awareness of music induced hearing loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Occupational Exposure