Daily music exposure dose and hearing problems using personal listening devices in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review

Int J Audiol. 2016;55(4):197-205. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2015.1122237. Epub 2016 Jan 15.


Objective: This systematic review aimed to explore the evidence on whether the preferred listening levels (PLLs) and durations of music listening through personal listening devices (PLDs) in adolescents and young adults exceed the current recommended 100% daily noise dose; together with the impact on hearing and possible influential factors of such listening behaviours.

Design: A systematic search was conducted using multiple online bibliographic databases.

Study sample: The 26 studies were included on the basis of the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: The results showed that up to 58.2% of participants exceeded the 100% daily noise dose, particularly in the presence of background noise. Significantly positive correlations were found among background noise levels and mean PLLs, as well as the proportion of participants exceeding the 100% daily noise dose. Moreover, significantly worse hearing thresholds were found in PLD users using audiometry, and significantly poor results in otoacoustic emission (OAE), even in the participants with self-reported 'normal hearing'.

Conclusion: It is crucial to develop appropriate standards and safe recommendations for daily music exposure dose in future studies. Providing an essential guide and effective education to adolescents and young adults will help raise awareness, increase knowledge, and consequently change attitudes and listening habits.

Keywords: Music; adolescents; hearing loss; noise-induced hearing loss; personal listening device; young adults.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Auditory Threshold*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Health Behavior
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / psychology
  • Humans
  • Loudness Perception
  • MP3-Player*
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult