04 March 2019

Alcohol consumption during concerts increases risk of hearing loss

Exposure to loud sounds combined with alcohol consumption is a dangerous cocktail, a Dutch study shows.

If you drink alcohol during a music festival, at which you are exposed to loud music, you are at higher risk of developing a noise-induced hearing loss.

Alcohol vs. earplugs

A Dutch study examined factors associated with temporary threshold shift after exposure to loud music at an outdoor music festival.

The study found that a large alcohol consumption was associated with the amount of time spent near loud speakers, because the participants who consumed a great amount of alcohol spent more time near loud speakers and thereby exhibited a more dangerous behavior than participants who did not consume alcohol. In this way alcohol consumption increases the risk of getting tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss, which is a hearing loss caused by exposure to dangerously high sounds over a long time.

The study also found that the use of earplugs was associated with reduced temporary threshold shifts.

About the study

The study examined participants at an outdoor festival in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. All participants attended the music festival for 4.5 hours. Some of the participants were instructed to use earplugs. After the festival, the participants completed a questionnaire regarding alcohol use, time spent near stages and loudspeakers, loudness of music, subjective hearing loss and tinnitus.

Source: “Association of Behavior With Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Among Attendees of an Outdoor Music Festival: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial” in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.


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