OMERSET, NEW JERSEY — Fifty years after the iconic “Three Days of Peace and Music,” a survey by The Harris Poll, commissioned by Oticon, Inc., suggests that members of the Woodstock Generation may be experiencing unintended consequences of their love of hard-charging, culture-changing rock n’ roll.
According to the online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults ages 65-80 conducted in June, the prevalence of hearing loss among those who listened to loud music when they were young (i.e., in their teens and 20s) is 40% greater than the percentage of hearing loss indicated in studies of older Americans that don’t include questions about music listening habits.
The Harris Poll survey questioned the Woodstock Generation about their listening habits in their youth and their ability to hear and enjoy music now. The survey found that 47% of the Woodstock Generation who listened to loud or very loud music when they were in their teens and 20s now report hearing loss.
As a result, many of the Woodstock Generation (41%) say they are unable to enjoy music as they once did. The negative impact of hearing loss on their ability to participate in social activities/gatherings, at least a little, was reported by 41% of those adults with hearing loss, and 38% say their hearing loss affects relationships with family or friends, at least a little. Approximately 52% state that, at least sometimes, they have difficulty understanding what is being said in loud environments like busy restaurants.
“We recognized a unique opportunity to tap into consumer and media excitement around the 50th anniversary of Woodstock to promote a hearing health message that would resonate with people of all ages, especially music lovers. The survey results allow us to demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of loud music listening on hearing health. Fifty years ago, many believed that turning up the volume and seeking out concerts with the biggest speakers contributed to music enjoyment. Today, we know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain not only the ability to enjoy music and conversation but overall quality of life.”
–Gary Rosenblum, President of Oticon, Inc.