Is that Right? Loud music ruined baby boomers' hearing?
After years of being told that the loud music we listened to in our youth would make us deaf, we baby boomers can take comfort in a new study that provides evidence that Led Zeppelin didn't permanently damage our eardrums after all.
The study analyzed data for 5,275 people born between 1902 and 1962, comparing the incidence of hearing loss in later years among those born earlier (the parent group) and a group of their offspring (a cohort roughly coinciding with the baby-boom generation). They found that as the younger folks advanced in age, they maintained good hearing far longer than their elders had as they aged.
From the news release announcing the January 15 publication of the research in the American Journal of Epidemiology:
"Generally people think that our world is getting noisier and noisier, but we found that the prevalence of hearing loss is decreasing," says Dr. Weihai Zhan, who led the study. "These results suggest that hearing loss is not a normal part of aging and there are things we can do to delay hearing loss."In the news release, the authors note that short-term noise exposure such as may occur at a concert (or when listening to recorded music with the volume set to 11) generally causes just temporary hearing loss. As they note in the study, though, it remains to be seen whether frequent use of earbuds among today's young people may cause permanent loss of hearing.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
January 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Aging , Chronic Conditions , General Health , Is That Right? , Seniors , Teens
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