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A Tinnitus Epidemic is the Awful Sound of Hearing impaired America



If your ears are ringing, you know what I’m talking about.

There is an epidemic of tinnitus. Millions of people hear a ringing or rumbling in their ears with greater frequency than before. Some studies estimate that 15% of people worldwide suffer from tinnitus.

I have tinnitus. My ears simulate the low hum and rumble of the Starship Enterprise, all the time. I have a ringing in my ears, too. I wear a hearing aid due to a defect from birth. I have one good ear, and it’s not really that good. The other ear is 90% deaf, but it hears my shaver better than my good ear. And I wear a headset while talking to customers at work.

I’m a techie. My job is to fix software that monitors and provides remote access to very large data storage systems. I use Zoom 5 days a week. During these meetings, some people are loud, some people are quiet. Some people like their notifications from Outlook to be loud. Some of them work from home. They have kids playing, dogs barking, or an argument in the next room.

I don’t listen to music at work over my headphones. The reason is that I can’t objectively measure the volume of the sound in my ears. I have to use some other device, some other measuring stick to determine just how loud things are in there. And if I can’t do that, then I risk damaging my already damaged ears.

I know I’m not the only one. I know that millions of Americans, whether they’re working from home or not, are listening to their headphones at work, mostly too loud. And work is just the start.

I walk every day now. I needed to get off my butt and walk around my neighborhood because I live an otherwise, sedentary life. While I’m out walking, I see other people walking with their dogs, their families, and maybe their friends. But if they’re walking alone, they have AirPods in their ears. They have some kind of earbud sticking out of their ears. And I don't think they’re a very good judge of the volume they’re playing, either.

Apple is already upselling with a new feature, “hearing enhancement”. For a few years now, we’ve had hearing aids with Bluetooth built in so that you can connect your hearing aids to your phone, and by extension, your music. That might be a safer…