In her October, 2021 New York Times guest essay titled Don’t Fear a Deafer Planet, Sara Novic reports the same sobering hearing loss data you’ve read in our business plan. She warns that “…humanity is about to get a lot deafer,” admits that hearing assistance devices “may not be the most effective way to reckon with widespread hearing loss of varying degrees,” and urges readers to get ready to accept a future of widespread deafness by “…attempting to eradicate the stigma that surrounds hearing loss.”
We agree on the facts but disagree on her proposed response. Hearing loss fits the definition of a pandemic – a vast, out-of-control global health problem getting worse. It’s been about 240 years since factories started burning fossil fuels in the late 19th century. Workers went deaf from the noise, urban life got louder, and the conventional wisdom that hearing loss is virtually inevitable took hold.
Today, noise exposure accounts for more than 90% of all hearing loss, and there’s an unquestionably urgent need to keep it from getting worse. Fortunately, three developments are evolving our responses from resigned acceptance toward solutions, changing the status quo and conventional wisdom.
First, the world will get quieter as we transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, but that’s likely to take several decades. In the meantime, more than a billion young people are at continued increased risk of suffering permanent hearing impairment earlier than their parents, carrying the burdens of hearing loss disability longer. That’s where the second and third developments matter.
Second, policymakers are finally addressing the need to regulate noise in urban environments.
Third, auditory neuroscience medical research has successfully applied the free radical theory of cell aging and cell death to the inner ear, where hearing loss happens, and developed the first safe, convenient, affordable oral hearing preservation therapeutic. The micronutrient cocktail is called ACEMg in scholarly literature. ACEMg is available today as Soundbites.