Hearing protection devices: Use at work predicts use at play

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2016 Sep 2;71(5):281-288. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2015.1089828. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) at work is widespread and well researched, but less is known about HPD use in high-noise leisure activities. We investigated HPD use of 8,144 Australians in leisure settings. An online survey asked questions about HPD use at work and leisure and examined whether age, gender, HPD use at work, and tinnitus predicted HPD use in leisure activities. Leisure-based HPD use was most common during high-risk work-related activities. Use of HPDs at work was the most significant predictor of leisure-based use, with workplace users up to 5 times more likely to use HPDs at leisure. Men were significantly more likely than women to use HPDs in 10/20 leisure activities, and those with tinnitus were more likely than those without to use HPDs in 8/20 activities. Older participants were more likely to use HPDs at nightclubs and concerts, but younger participants were more likely to use HPDs playing e-games and musical instruments.

Keywords: Citizen science; hearing protection; hearing protection devices; leisure noise; workplace health and safety.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Ear Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Health / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult