02 July 2009

Golf shots affecting hearing

Doctors recommending that golf players wear earplugs. The “sonic boom” created when clubs strike the ball can damage players' hearing.

A report published by the British Medical Journal indicated that the hearing of golf players may be at risk from the noise from the impact of modern thin-faced titanium drivers hitting the balls. The new clubs make it possible for the players to propel the ball further and improve their game, but as it turns out they also add another risk to their hearing.

The study was conducted when a group of British ear specialists learned that a 55 year old golf player suffered from tinnitus and hearing loss in his right ear because of the booming noise of the metal club. The man said that the new clubs sounded like a gun going off and the doctors could find no other explanation for his hearing problems.

Skeptical golfers

In a comparison test thin-faced titanium drivers produced a greater sound than thicker-faced stainless steel models, with noise levels high enough to induce temporary or even permanent cochlear damage in susceptible individuals.

”Wearing earplugs could be a possibility, although it may prove radical for some”, stated Malcolm Buchanan, a co-author of the report.

The report is likely to be met with skepticism by many golf players. They may fear that earplugs, while protecting against the golf shot noise may prevent players from hearing warning cries of ”fore”, which might have serious consequences overshadowing any risk on the golf course to their hearing.

Sources: telegraph.co.uk; theindependent.com; news.scotsman.com

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