"NOISE IS the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but also a disruption of thought," said 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. As more Americans live—and work— longer, the collective burden of urban din, hypertension, and high cholesterol diets may disrupt not only their ability to hear themselves think, but also to hear the world around them, according to recent research by Harold C. Pillsbury, MD.
Hearing loss may appear to be an inevitable part of aging, but studies of hearing among tribes living in quiet, remote areas of the Sudan show that presbycusis (high-frequency nerve hearing loss in the aged) is not inevitable (Trans AAOO 1964;68:433-444). And while there is an extensive body of literature demonstrating the effects of noise on hearing loss, the intrusion of noise alone may not completely explain the degree of hearing loss among industrial populations, according to Pillsbury,