Golf is often called the gentle sport. You play it while strolling, with levels of exertion coming between long, pleasant stretches spent walking on grounds that are often beautiful and well manicured. Yet, recent studies have found that golf can be one of the most risky sports to participate in because of the damage it can do to your hearing.
Once characterized by the thwack of wooden clubs on tiny plastic balls, golf's preeminent sound has changed in recent years because of technology. Now, the most popular golf clubs are made of titanium, a material so light and powerful that when it connects with the ball it can deliver a ping loud enough to equate to a "sonic boom," scientists say.
When golfers drive the ball on their opening shot of each hole, they are putting as much oomph into their swing as they can muster and while the resulting ping can put a smile on their face if the shot hits the fairway or green, it can also assault the ears with a sharp pain. Repetition of that pain over 18 holes and over round after round, year after year, can lead to hearing damage.
Here is a Time article describing in more detail the affliction of "Golfers Ear".
"It may come as a surprise, but golf can potentially cause serious damage to human hearing," says MJ DeSousa, Director of Professional Practice at Connect Hearing. "The popular new titanium drivers emit a ping loud enough to cause permanent loss. The answer is to wear ear plugs at all times. Even if you're putting, someone else is probably teeing off in your vicinity, and that leaves you vulnerable."
If your game is anything like mine enjoy this video of the top 10 biggest duffs, shanks and mis-hits in golf.