Credit: Healthy Life

According to the Binge Listening study, about 13 per cent young Australians exposed to leisure-associated noise that goes beyond the accepted limit allowed at worksites every year.

The study involved a survey of 1,000 young Australians, from ages 18 to 35, with researchers being sent out to record sound levels of a list of popular free-time habits.

A quarter of all study participants had been exposed to leisure-time noise levels more than half the total workplace dose permitted over a year.

A third of all the participants were unware that hearing loss was permanent.

Irreparable hearing loss, alerted Professor Harvey Dillon were caused by leisure-time noise from nightclubs, raves, rock concerts or MP3 players.

Prof Dillon says, Nightclubs and dance parties, for example, are not only very loud but the patrons often stay in them for three to five hours.

A single night of clubbing can possibly exposed a person to several weeks' worth of maximum permitted noise level, said Prof Dillon.

He also compares the noise levels in a nightclub as similar to listening to a chainsaw at 100 decibels - a noise level that could be damage hearing after only 15 minutes of constant exposure.

An hour of listening to the iPod at 94 decibels - which is maximum volume - contributes to hearing damage, said Prof Dillon.

The allowable dose of noise for worksites was 85 decibels for eight-hour duration, he said.

The general relationship between over-exposure to sound and resulting hearing damage seems to be well understood by young people, said Prof Dillon, also a research director for the National Acoustic Laboratories.

Most young people, however, do not think the message applies to them personally, with the belief - It won't happen to me.