Investigating long-term recreational music-induced hearing loss in an adult population

PhD student

Robert MacKinnon

Supervisory team

Dr Heather Fortnum (Retired)
Professor Dave Moore

Dr Christian F├╝llgrabe (MRC IHR)
Dr Marcel Vlaming (VU University Medical Center, Netherlands)


NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU programme

Study period


Loud music damages your hearing – a warning that we are used to taking as fact. However, surprisingly little research has actually been done into how sustained exposure to loud music affects our hearing in the long term, and the results we do have are far from conclusive. 

This project is the first to examine explicitly the effect of long-term exposure to loud music in a variety of contexts. A new online questionnaire is being developed to gather a comprehensive life history of loud music exposure. It will also ask about hearing health, tinnitus, hyperacusis, and factors other than loud music that can cause a hearing loss. Additionally, an internet-based hearing test is also being refined to better detect the type of hearing damage expected from loud noise.

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The study uses these tools to screen a large sample of volunteers aged between 30 and 65. Participants will complete the online questionnaire and the online hearing test remotely, and the results will be analysed and used to investigate the nature of the risk of long-term music-induced hearing loss. Findings could inform safe listening limits and help improve public health in future generations of music listeners. 

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