Study Indicates Gamers at Risk of Irreversible Hearing Loss and Tinnitus


The new review indicates that gamers exceed safe volume levels when playing for extended periods of time. This may potentially result in permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, which is characterized by a persistent throbbing in the ears. A paper published in BMJ Public Health reviewed 14 studies that collectively included over 50,000 individuals.

The researchers emphasize the need for increased public health efforts to raise awareness about the concerns faced by gamers, similar to the efforts made for live music and headphones.

Naturally, players have the option to lower the volume during their gaming sessions in order to reduce the potential risks. However, the study indicates that the duration of time individuals spend exposed to loud volumes is a contributing factor to the issue.

As an expert in this field, it is worth noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that adults can safely tolerate 80 decibels (dB) for a duration of 40 hours per week. To put this into perspective, this is roughly equivalent to the sound level of a doorbell.

At higher levels, the acceptable level of noise exposure decreases significantly.

According to the guidance from the World Health Organization, it is recommended that adults limit their exposure to 85dB for a maximum of four hours per week, and 90dB for a maximum of one hour and 15 minutes per week. Children have even lower thresholds.

Researchers evaluated a study that discovered the average noise levels in four shooting games to be between 88.5 and 91.2dB. Yet another study revealed that there were impulse sounds that reached a staggering 119dB, characterized by short, loud bursts like shooting noises. The paper also discovered that in three distinct studies, there was a noticeable difference in video game usage between boys and girls. Boys were found to play video games more frequently, for longer durations, and at louder volumes.

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A Deeper Look into Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Risks

Several studies have discovered connections between gaming and potential auditory issues such as hearing loss and tinnitus. These studies utilized a combination of data provided by participants and hearing tests to assess hearing abilities. The authors recognize the need for further research to establish a more definitive connection between gaming and hearing loss.

It is suggested that further investigation should be conducted on the influence of e-sports, geographic region, sex, and age.

Several studies examined in the analysis date back to the 1990s, a time when the gaming landscape was vastly different from what it is today.

In the past decade, only two publications have conducted objective measurements of sound levels in video games or gaming centers, which are similar to video game arcades and particularly popular in Asia.

However, the authors of the study suggest that gaming could potentially contribute to unsafe listening habits based on the limited evidence available.

The findings indicate a potential need to prioritize interventions that promote safe listening among gamers, such as education and awareness initiatives about the potential risks of gaming.

The gaming industry body Ukie stated that it still promotes the use of headphones within safe levels, but declined to provide any additional comments regarding the new study.


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