A snapshot of young adults' noise exposure reveals evidence of 'Binge Listening'

Elizabeth Francis Beach*, Megan Gilliver, Warwick Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


There have been several previous studies into daily noise exposure levels in modern urban communities, which typically report mean noise exposure levels (LAeq) for adults between 73 and 79 dB. In this study, rather than focus on group mean exposures across a wide age range, individual patterns of noise exposure over 4- and 5-day periods were examined in a group of 45 young adults aged 18-35 years. The main objective of the study was to determine the extent to which young adults exhibit a 'binge listening' pattern of noise exposure, i.e., high weekend leisure noise vs. low weekday work noise exposure. A secondary objective was to identify the types of activities that generate the highest noise exposures. The results showed that although most participants (60%) were exposed to low daily noise levels, 33% of participants exhibited a 'binge listening' exposure pattern characterized by one or two high-noise days, usually a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, preceded or followed by much quieter days. The most notable high-noise activities were playing an instrument solo or in a band; attending a nightclub; and attending a pop concert, each of which recorded average noise levels greater than 100 dB. Future research is needed to determine whether 'binge listening' is more or less harmful than the chronic exposure presupposed in traditional risk models, however, under the equal-energy principle, repeated 'binge' noise exposures from weekend visits to nightclubs, live music events and other high-noise events represent a significant risk to long-term hearing health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Acoustics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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