A study published in BMJ Public Health reveals that people who play video games may be at risk of damaging their hearing due to prolonged exposure to potentially unsafe sound levels. The review of 14 studies, involving over 50,000 people, suggests that gamers often play with the volume turned up beyond limits which could potentially lead to irreversible hearing loss or tinnitus. Whilst the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends safe noise exposure levels, the study points out that duration of exposure also contributes to the risk of hearing loss.

Some studies found correlations between gaming, hearing loss, and tinnitus, with boys playing games more frequently and at a higher volume than girls. The authors call for increased public health efforts to raise awareness about these risks among gamers and suggest interventions focused on education and awareness.

Ukie, the gaming industry body, encourages the use of headphones within safe levels but refrained from commenting specifically on the new study.