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.