I can’t hear you

Hearing loss is on the rise in Australia, with the current figure of around one in six predicted to increase to one in four by 2050 with our ageing population. But crunch the numbers and it’s not just baby boomers who are suffering from poor hearing. Through lifestyle choices and repeated exposure to loud sounds, Gen X and Gen Y cohorts could very well soon be labelling themselves as the “say that again” generations.

Multi generations of Australians are putting their hearing at risk, it seems. According to Professor David Ryugo, head of the Hearing Research Laboratory at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, the impact of loud industrial and recreational noise is something we just aren’t taking seriously enough. And we should be.

“Loud noise is a bit like radiation or UV exposure: a little bit is OK but a lot is dangerous, because the ear keeps track of how much noise it’s exposed to,” Prof Ryugo says.

Over time, repeated and prolonged exposure to sound in excess of 85 decibels (or dB, the unit of measure for sound) can cause hearing loss. To give you an idea, conversation runs at around 60dB, motorbikes 95dB, trucks between 90-110dB and gunshot at around

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