Photo credit: Facundo Gaisler licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

On a recent Howard Stern Show, Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl said that he can hear the music on stage and in his studio but he cannot hear someone speaking who is sitting next to him in a restaurant. Mask wearing has also made it more difficult for him to hear people speaking. For 20 years he says he has relied on lip reading to hear what others are saying. Grohl then went on to say that he has not checked his hearing ability in years because he already knows he has tinnitus and hearing loss. In an interview this past week on CBS Mornings, Grohl also discussed his hearing loss and that he has not “checked it out” because he knows what his problem is.

On Howard Stern’s show, Grohl clearly stated that he had no interest in seeking further medical attention for his hearing problems nor does he wish to wear hearing protectors. He is content in that he can perform and listen to his audience the way things are. Stern accepted his explanation.

In reporting on Dave Grohl’s hearing loss interview, however, Lisa Respers France could have commented that hearing loss is a serious problem and individuals should seek medical attention when their hearing is impaired. There is technology–namely, hearing aids–to assist with hearing loss, and while there may be no cures for tinnitus, hearing health professionals have employed therapeutic options that can reduce tinnitus.

Similarly, on the CBS Mornings Show, there was an opportunity for the hosts to address hearing loss as well as ways to prevent and treat it. Also, they could have commented that even when loud sounds, e.g. music, are favored, they can still bring about hearing loss.

In reading France’s article, and watching the Howard Stern and CBS Mornings interviews, I came away with a feeling that hearing loss was not being viewed as a serious disability. This was a huge missed opportunity to urge people to protect their hearing and to seek help if there is some loss of hearing.

My recommendation follows: For more information on hearing loss, hearing tests, and hearing aids, I suggest you go to the Center for Hearing and Communication.