Hah! Rock 'n roll generation has really good hearing

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Your mother was wrong, and now you can prove it. All that loud music probably hasn't done your hearing any harm at all.

It seems the rock 'n' roll generation is hanging on to good hearing much longer than the generation before.

In a study of the hearing of 5,275 adults born between 1902 and 1962, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that hearing impairment rates were 31 percent lower in baby boomers.

For example, in the group of men born between 1944 and 1949, 36.4 percent had a hearing impairment; among men born between 1930 and 1935, 58.1 percent had a hearing impairment at the same age.

"Contrary to what our parents thought, we didn't lose our hearing from listening to transistor radios in the '60s, boomboxes in the '80s or iPods in the last decade," says Dr Karen Cruickshanks.

One reason, she says, is that hearing loss from one-time exposures such as music at a loud concert tends not to last.

"Evidence suggests that short-term exposure leads to temporary hearing loss," she says, "but it's the day-to-day exposure that leads to more permanent hearing loss."

The study appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology