Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





Adrienne Rubinstein

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology


music-induced hearing loss, recreational noise exposure, personal listening devices, hearing loss, noise induced hearing loss, personal music players


Legislation regarding occupational noise exposure is the result of a long period of interest and research; more recently, the effects of recreational noise are receiving increasing attention. Various sources of recreational noise and music exposure have become more widespread among the general public, increasing research in this source of potential risk. The proliferation of personal music players that are easily available and accessible to children and adults has contributed to the spread of leisure music exposure. Leisure music exposure is also common in the attendance of concerts and clubs/discos, and bars/pubs. The present systematic literature review focused exclusively on recreational music sources, including personal music players, concerts, and clubs, and reviewed the current body of research available regarding recreational music exposure and its effect on hearing, as is evident through the measure of standard audiometric thresholds, extended high frequency audiometry, and otoacoustic emissions responses. Following a systematic search, eleven studies were chosen for inclusion in the review.

Results revealed that although a large body of evidence is available regarding the dangerously loud exposure of noise in a variety of recreational settings, there is still a lack of sufficient and consistent evidence that supports that hearing loss (as evidenced by pure tone audiometry) is apparent in this population. Although there have been multiple studies performed over the past few decades, the results of such studies that use similar methods are not in agreement. Long-term longitudinal studies are few and far between in this area. More studies of this nature may be necessary to display a hearing impairment in this population due to recreational music exposure over time. There is evidence that high frequency audiometry and otoacoustic emissions responses may serve as an early indicator of noise damage, but this claim has not yet been substantiated due to differences among study outcomes and requires future investigation.