Good Hearing Good Golfing

You may be surprised to learn that good hearing can improve your golf game. If you are a frustrated amateur you may blame a poor round of golf on the weather. If you are a golf professional there can be no excuses. Either way, if you are suffering from hearing loss then this could be to blame for a deterioration in your golf game.

Playing golf might be causing a problem with your hearing. The evolution of the game of golf from wooden clubs to high tech designs means that many golf clubs are made to produce a whip-like action. This speeds up the club head as it makes contact with the ball. The large, titanium clubhead creates a loud pinging similar to a gunshot.

A study in the British Medical Journal found that modern, thin-faced titanium golf clubs produce a sound loud enough to damage the sensitive hairs in the inner ear. Specifically, the study found a 55 year old man who played golf three times a week for 18 months with a thin-faced titanium driver developed tinnitus, and hearing loss, in his right ear. Doctors at Norwich University Hospital in England measured this with five other titanium clubs and found that all six exceeded safe limits (110 decibels) whilst two steel drivers posed a hazard and one reached 128 decibels. This study was conducted outdoors. Use of a similar club indoors will most likely result in even higher decibel levels.

One international expert has suggested that until further studies are completed, golfers who use modern titanium drivers should wear earplugs as a precaution. Earplugs can protect golfers not just from the crack of the club but also the more harrowing sound that often follows: a splash. You may not hear your golfing partner shout “Fore!” but even worse you may miss their invitation to join them for a drink or two at the 19th hole!

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer suffered from hearing loss. In an interview in 2003 he said, “hearing aids have made a big difference in my golf game! I’ve noticed the sound of the golf ball being hit by the golf club is different, and much more realistic, with the hearing aids. The sound with the hearing aids makes sense, and better represents what I know is happening to the golf ball. So you could say that the hearing aids help give me confidence regarding my golf game.”

Whether you are a golfer or not, get your hearing checked. It can help you improve your game and your quality of life.