Playing golf can lead to hearing loss, say British researchers
Not many people think of golf as a high-risk sport. However, British researchers have found that using thin-faced titanium ball drivers can damage hearing of golfers. Researchers believe playing with these cutting-edge drivers can cause sonic effects that can damage player’s ears. They suggest golfers should consider playing with earplugs when using this kind of equipment.
Players who use a new generation of thin-faced titanium drivers to propel the ball further should consider wearing ear plugs, experts advise.
Ear specialists suspect the "sonic boom" the metal club head makes when it strikes the ball damaged the hearing of a 55-year-old golfer they treated.
They outline the details of this case in the British Medical Journal.
The man had been playing with a King Cobra LD titanium club three times a week for 18 months and commented that the noise of the club hitting the ball was "like a gun going off".
The doctors trawled the web for reviews of the King Cobra LD club and said they found some interesting comments.
One player reported: "Drives my mates crazy with that distinctive loud 'BANG' sound."
Another said: "This is not so much a ting but a sonic boom which resonates across the course!"
The doctors decided to recruit a professional golfer to hit shots with six thin-faced titanium clubs from manufacturers such as King Cobra, Callaway, Nike and Mizuno.
All produced a louder noise than standard thicker stainless steel drivers.
The worst offender was the Ping G10 at over 130 decibels.
Lead researcher Dr Malcom Buchanan, an ENT specialist and a keen golfer, said: "Our results show that thin-faced titanium drivers may produce sufficient sound to induce temporary or even permanent cochlear damage in susceptible individuals."
He said golfers should be careful when playing with these thin-faced clubs as they make a lot more noise, and suggested they could wear earplugs for protection.