Photo credit: Jadson Thomas from Pexels

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

A new movie on Amazon Prime, “Sound of Metal,” deals with an aging rocker’s relatively sudden loss of hearing. I read the review on Live Mint.

Most of the time hearing loss occurs gradually, but sometimes, as in the case of fictional rocker Ruben, it goes from a buzzing in the ears to almost total loss of hearing relatively rapidly. This sequence is clinically correct: for many people, the first sign of auditory damage is ringing or buzzing in the ears. Ruben’s soundscape becomes a buzz of white noise. The reviewer finds the scene where Ruben gets a hearing test “one of the most harrowing” he’s seen all year. The scene ends with the doctor bluntly telling his patient, “[t]he hearing that you lost is not coming back.”

That’s also clinically correct. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent. The only treatments available for hearing loss are amplification or cochlear implants. Ruben chooses the latter.

I am reluctant to recommend a movie I haven’t seen and probably won’t see–especially at this time I am seeking entertainment, amusement, uplifting, not a harrowing tale of loss when I turn on the television in the evening–but if you want to see what appears to be an outstanding portrayal of someone dealing with hearing loss, this may be the movie for you.