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Grandparents and parents often make a prediction that listening to loud music leads one to become hard of hearing.  A recent report indicates that this is not so!

Members of the rock ‘n’ roll generation are aging with much better hearing than their parents had at the same age. A large-scale study of the hearing of 5,275 adults born between 1902 and 1962, researchers have found that baby boomers are holding on to good hearing longer than their parents did. This is from a recent study out of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The study showed hearing impairment rates in the group of men now in their early 60s (those 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, UW School of Medicine and Public Health professor of population health sciences and ophthalmology and visual sciences.

One reason, Cruickshanks says, is that hearing loss from one-time exposures such as music at a loud concert tends to be temporary.

“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.”

Reduced smoking rates in younger generations should result in less chronic cardiovascular disease, which can cause hearing loss. And, because infection and inflammation are also associated with hearing loss, Cruickshanks says, “Better health care and the widespread use of antibiotics may also be part of the explanation.”

The good news is that hearing loss doesn’t need to accompany aging.

“If hearing loss was genetically determined, you wouldn’t see this loss over a generation,” she says. “It’s exciting to know that there are things we can do to prevent or delay hearing loss.”

See the complete article at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  Date Published: 01/14/2010