The objective of the current study was to evaluate the predictive role of the olivocochlear efferent reflex strength in
temporary hearing deterioration in young adults exposed to music. This was based on the fact that a noise-protective
role of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) system was observed in animals and that efferent suppression (ES) measured
using contralateral acoustic stimulation (CAS) of otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) is capable of exploring the MOC system.
Knowing an individual’s susceptibility to cochlear damage after noise exposure would enhance preventive strategies
for noise-induced hearing loss. The hearing status of 28 young adults was evaluated using pure-tone audiometry,
transient evoked OAEs (TEOAEs) and distortion product OAEs (DPOAEs) before and after listening to music using
an MP3 player during 1 h at an individually determined loud listening level. CAS of TEOAEs was measured before
music exposure to determine the amount of ES. Regression analysis showed a distinctive positive correlation between
temporary hearing deterioration and the preferred gain setting of the MP3 player. However, no clear relationship
between temporary hearing deterioration and the amount of ES was found. In conclusion, clinical measurement of ES,
using CAS of TEOAEs, is not correlated with the amount of temporary hearing deterioration after 1 h music exposure
in young adults. However, it is possible that the temporary hearing deterioration in the current study was insufficient
to activate the MOC system. More research regarding ES might provide more insight in the olivocochlear efferent
pathways and their role in auditory functioning.