As I was walking out the door to go to my first rock concert decades ago, my father interrogated me about my attire (for the record, a button-down Oxford cloth shirt and a pair of Levi’s.). He asked why, if I was going to a concert, was I not wearing a jacket and tie? When I told him that no one would be dressed like that, he assured me that “the Jefferson Airplanes will all be wearing jackets and ties.” (For the record, they were not.)
Guys, I have good news and I have bad news. Fortunately (for you, anyway) it does not involve the results of your lab test; unfortunately (for me, anyway) neither does it involve a young blond receptionist. If you’re a regular reader here, you probably already know that gag; if you’re an irregular reader, many doctors recommend lots of roughage and regular exercise.
But back to the news. The good news is that, despite all the warnings we Boomers got in our mis-spent youth that high-volume rock ‘n’ roll would ruin our hearing, it now appears that it didn’t.
The bad news for us guys – especially us married guys – is that if this information falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the end to using Jefferson Airplane-induced hearing loss as an excuse for not hearing things we’d rather not.
According to a study I just read about, we Baby Boomers actually have better hearing than did our parents. And if the researchers are interpreting their data correctly, then the rate of hearing problems at ages ranging from 45 to 75 has been dropping for years, at least among white Americans.
Of course, not everyone in this group has flawless ears. Certain occupations cause noise-induced hearing loss. And some hearing loss can be attributed to the military. This is true in my case; I am almost completely deaf in my left ear because I punctured my eardrum with a knitting needle to avoid going into the Army.
But back to the news. The implications of this these findings are not pretty, and could put an end to life as we know it. When that day comes, and our wives say, “Please take out the trash,” and then 30 minutes later find us stretched out on the sofa, blasting Dark Side of the Moon, we will no longer be able to say, “Trash? I thought you said stash; my bad.”
Anyway, I said I have good news and bad news — actually, I have good news, bad news, and them some more good news. Here’s the more good news: The study indicated that, while our exposure to loud music may not have hurt our hearing, the same is not true of other folks – and by “other folks” I mean “those crazy kids” — who blast high-volume music through their earbuds. They’re just asking for it. And you call that music? Turn that crap down! And get off my lawn!
Warning signs of hearing loss
Your hearing is a precious gift; use this checklist to keep it healthy.
- Sounds seem muffled to you. Check to see that no one is holding a pillow over your face.
- Ringing or other sounds. This is probably your new cell phone; check the ringer settings.
- Sensation of pressure in your ears. Make sure you haven’t cinched your belt a notch too tight, or perhaps sat on your testicles.
- Others complain more frequently that your TV or music is too loud. Actually, it would be impossible for people to complain more frequently that my music is too loud – or, perhaps more to the point, that my taste in music sucks.
- People feel you’re not paying attention to them. I got news for you; my hearing’s fine – I’m just ignoring you.