Great concern arises from recreational noise exposure, which might lead to noise-induced hearing loss in young adults.
The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of recreational noise exposure on hearing function in young
adults. A questionnaire concerning recreational noise exposures and an audiological test battery were completed by
163 subjects (aged 18-30 years). Based on the duration of exposure and self-estimated loudness of various leisure-time
activities, the weekly and lifetime equivalent noise exposure were calculated. Subjects were categorized in groups with
low, intermediate, and high recreational noise exposure based on these values. Hearing was evaluated using audiometry,
transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs), and distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). Mean
differences in hearing between groups with low, intermediate, and high recreational noise exposure were evaluated using
one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). There were no significant differences in hearing thresholds, TEOAE amplitudes,
and DPOAE amplitudes between groups with low, intermediate, or high recreational noise exposure. Nevertheless, onethird
of our subjects exceeded the weekly equivalent noise exposure for all activities of 75 dBA. Further, the highest
equivalent sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated for the activities visiting nightclubs or pubs, attending concerts
or festivals, and playing in a band or orchestra. Moreover, temporary tinnitus after recreational noise exposure was
found in 86% of our subjects. There were no significant differences in hearing between groups with low, intermediate,
and high recreational noise exposure. Nevertheless, a long-term assessment of young adults’ hearing in relation to
recreational noise exposure is needed.