A new first of its kind global study has found that video game sound levels often exceed safe limits — with advocates warning they could play a role in increasing hearing issues amongst young people.
Gamer Kieran Findlay plays video games daily and said that sound is half the experience.
“You’ve got the picture in front of you and then that audio is telling you everything you can’t see, so some people really turn the volume up so they can hear and give themselves a competitive edge.”
Studies involving nearly 54,000 adults and children worldwide were reviewed as part of the analysis.
The findings showed that when participants played video games, average sound levels often nearly exceeded or exceeded permissible sound exposure limits, the risks of which grow the more time people spend exposed to them.
Audiologist Grant Searchfield said that there is risk, particularly in first person shooting games.
“Some of the sounds, where there are explosions, gunshots, these impulse sounds can get really high and damaging over a relatively short period of time.”
The Deaf Foundation has been screening secondary school students for four years and said that video games are a key concern.
“What we’re seeing is an increase in self-reported tinnitus amongst teenagers, the issue is that gaming tends to be quite a long time throughout the day,” said chief executive Natasha Gallardo.
Advice is to monitor the amount of sound your ears are exposed to and take regular breaks to let your ears rest.