Don't Play Games With Your Hearing Health

by Lindsay Robinson, HIA Program Coordinator

January 24, 2024


Technology advancements over the last two decades have been astounding. Most of us are constantly connected and surrounded by technology such as cell phones, TVs, radios, and smart home features. Some go further and completely immerse themselves in technology through video games. Gaming communities have drastically increased as technology has improved in its ability to open up a different world of sound, sights, and endless adventure. As more people take up this hobby, the availability of computers, surround sound speakers, headphones, and other accessories specifically created for gaming has largely expanded. Gaming can be therapeutic, educational, and provide a space to meet others. If you are one of the estimated three billion gamers in the world, there are practices you can utilize to stay healthy and continue enjoying your gaming experience long into the future.


Not something that many people consider when diving into an online world is the impact of noise that games can have on overall health. In recent research published in BMJ Journals, 14 peer reviewed studies were observed involving over 50,000 regular “gamers” and the volume levels they are exposed to. This review found that gamers are often exposed to noise that surpasses safe listening limits, especially when spending a lengthy amount of time in gaming centers (computer lounges created specifically for individuals to compete in videos games). Even when games had overall safe listening limits with ambient background noise, impulse sounds (sudden sounds that are much louder than the background noise, such as blasts or gunfire) can reach levels comparable to a rock concert or jack hammer. Furthermore, the length of time many gamers play can also impact hearing health, as prolonged exposure to noise can increase the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus.


The report links closely to the World Health Organization (WHO) initiative on raising awareness of noise induced hearing loss in young adults, stating that “over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.”


So, what can you do with this information?

If you are a gamer yourself, either regularly exploring the digital world or enjoying a game from time to time, you can be mindful of volume levels during your gaming session. Be especially conscious of volume levels in games that have sudden blast sounds. The louder the sound, the shorter amount of time you can listen to it before risking your hearing health. So, be sure to give yourself more frequent breaks from gaming and allow your ears to rest in a quiet environment.


If you have a gamer in your life, encourage them to also take breaks and be mindful of what their ears are exposed to. Our ability to hear is a fragile sense and, once lost, it can be treated but not be restored back to natural hearing.


If you have concerns about your hearing health, start with taking a quick online hearing screening or reaching out to a nearby hearing care professional on

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