Baby Boomers Listen Up
After years of loud rock, boomers are battling hearing loss.
By John Cutter
Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson
Eric Snider, music editor for The Weekly Planet in Tampa, Fla., says people often joke when they see him wearing foam earplugs at rock concerts. How good can the concert be if the critic is muffling the sounds?
But Snider, 50, is simply taking precautions against the often relentless noise level. "Someday," he says, "I hope to be able to hear what my grandchildren are saying." Snider has worn earplugs for a long time, but lately he has noticed more people, especially his colleagues, doing the same.
When Hearing Goes
Many others exposed to high-decibel surroundings, however, are not as cautious as Snider -- and may regret it. Years of exposure to loud concerts, cranked-up stereos, personal CD players, leaf blowers, and other environmental noise are a big part of the reason doctors are now seeing more middle-aged people with hearing loss. It used to be that people aged 65 and older were the most likely to need hearing aids, but now hearing loss is a boomer phenomenon -- as former President Bill Clinton demonstrated when he was fitted with hearing aids a few years ago.