Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis Christmas 2008: Sport

Is golf bad for your hearing?

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 18 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2835
  1. M A Buchanan, ear, nose, and throat specialist registrar1,
  2. J M Wilkinson, audiological scientist2,
  3. J E Fitzgerald, chief audiological scientist2,
  4. P R Prinsley, ear, nose, and throat consultant1
  1. 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich NR4 7UY
  2. 2Department of Audiology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
  1. Correspondence to: M A Buchanan malcolm_buchanan123{at}

M A Buchanan and colleagues investigate the possible hazards of modern drivers

A 55 year old right handed man presented to the ear, nose, and throat outpatient clinic with tinnitus and reduced hearing in his right ear. Clinical examination was unremarkable. His pure tone audiogram showed an asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss, worse on the right, with a decrease on that side at 4-6 kHz (fig 1) typical of a noise induced hearing loss.1 He had been playing golf 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.” It had become so unpleasant that he had been forced to discard the club.

Fig 1 Pure tone audiogram showing sensorineural hearing loss on the right, with a noise induced drop at 4-6 kHz

Magnetic resonance imaging of his internal acoustic meati showed no abnormality, and we deduced that his asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss was attributable to the noise of the golf club. Other than regular …

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