Epidemiological evaluation of hearing damage related to strongly amplified music (personal cassette players, discotheques, rock concerts)--high-definition audiometric survey on 1364 subjects

Audiology. 1996 May-Jun;35(3):121-42. doi: 10.3109/00206099609071936.


Listening to loudly amplified music can be responsible for hearing damage of the same nature as that caused by industrial noise. This study of the repercussions on hearing is based on isolating different types of risks (PCPs (personal cassette players), discotheques and rock/variety concerts) using 'pure' exposed groups matched subject to subject for age and sex to control groups. Hearing is studied with high-definition audiometry and an 'auditory suffering' indicator. Although discotheque patrons present on average no audiometric damage (211 subjects), a statistically significant increase of average hearing thresholds is found in young people using a PCP > 7 h/week (54 subjects) compared to those using one 2-7 h/week (195 subjects) and compared to their matched controls. The same is true for subjects who go to rock concerts at least twice a month (87 subjects) compared to their matched controls. Signs of auditory suffering are found in two subjects out of three in this last exposure group, as opposed to 12% of the controls. Measures to conserve young people's hearing must include a reduction of sound levels, the education of music and entertainment professionals, and making PCP users better informed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amplifiers, Electronic / adverse effects*
  • Audiometry
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Music*