Matt Garlock has a hard time understanding what his friends say in loud bars. But when he got a hearing test, the result was normal, the Associated Press reports.
Now research may have found the explanation: "hidden hearing loss."
Scientists at Harvard University have been finding that loud noise — from rock concerts, leaf blowers, auto racing and the like — damages people's hearing in a way that may not be immediately noticeable, that doesn't show up in standard hearing tests.
Harvard researcher M. Charles Liberman says it can prevent people from understanding conversation in noisy settings, and it may also help explain why the problem gets worse with age. It may also lead to persistent ringing in the ears.
"Noise is more dangerous than we thought," Liberman told the AP.
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