Prevalence and characteristics of tinnitus after leisure noise exposure in young adults

Noise Health. 2014 Jan-Feb;16(68):26-33. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.127850.


The main goal of this study was to assess the prevalence and characteristics of tinnitus among students after exposure to leisure noise. In addition, the effects of tinnitus on otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) in participants suffering from chronic tinnitus were evaluated. The study consisted of two parts. First, a questionnaire regarding leisure noise exposure and tinnitus was completed. Second, the hearing status of the subjects suffering from chronic tinnitus was evaluated and compared with a matched control group (CG). Furthermore, the psychoacoustical characteristics of their tinnitus in the chronic tinnitus group (TG) were established. The questionnaire was answered by 151 respondents. Seven persons suffering from chronic tinnitus were examined further in the second part of the study. Transient tinnitus was observed in 73.5% of the respondents after leisure noise exposure and 6.6% experienced chronic tinnitus. Transient and chronic tinnitus had similar characteristics, as established by the questionnaire. The amplitude of transient evoked otoacoustic emissions and distortion product otoacoustic emissions was reduced and the amount of efferent suppression was smaller in the TG as compared with the CG. Tinnitus induced by leisure noise is observed frequently in young adults. The characteristics of tinnitus cannot predict whether it will have a transient or rather a chronic nature. In subjects suffering from tinnitus, subclinical damage that cannot be detected by audiometry can be demonstrated by measuring OAEs. These findings underpin the importance of educating youth about the risks of noise exposure during leisure activities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Music
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous
  • Prevalence
  • Tinnitus / etiology*
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology
  • Young Adult