Even if you're not watching the latest Marvel show on Netflix, it seems like all of your favorite TV characters have regenerative superpowers. TV shows often portray violent and noisy situations where the characters walk away with severe injuries—only to be completely healed in the next episode! Hearing loss is one health condition that frequently seems to be ignored or easily corrected in TV shows, and that is a major misrepresentation. The following are four TV shows with characters who would probably have hearing loss if they were real people.
The Walking Dead
On The Walking Dead, characters are always firing loud guns without hearing protection, which would likely leave them with some hearing damage. According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, every single gunshot produces noise loud enough to damage your hearing, and repeated exposure puts you at even more risk. It is always necessary to wear hearing protection if you are using firearms.
Fans have actually speculated that this is the reason walkers (zombies) are able to sneak up on the characters so often. While walkers are certainly not graceful and quiet, they have a tendency to take the characters by surprise. Could hearing loss be the explanation for this plot hole?
How I Met Your Mother
In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, the characters go to an exclusive nightclub that turns out to be crowded, noisy, and not that much fun at all! Afterwards, they all experience some “temporary deafness” due to the club's high levels of noise, but they quickly recover.
Clubs, bars, and restaurants are some of the noisiest places to be, sometimes reaching above 115 decibels! The characters on How I Met Your Mother spend a lot of time in these loud places, and unfortunately hearing ability can't always magically reappear the next day. Next time you're in a noisy place, try one of these decibel meter apps to help you determine if you are in a safe listening environment.
M*A*S*H is a unique TV show because it actually addresses hearing loss. In one episode, Father Mulcahy is in a mortar fire accident that results in severe hearing loss, and his situation would not be uncommon. The characters are not usually shown wearing hearing protection and are frequently exposed to gunfire, explosives, helicopters, and more sources of loud noise.
60% of veterans return home with hearing-related conditions like hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Realistically, many of the characters from M*A*S*H would have hearing loss.
The Gilmore Girls like their music loud and their coffee mugs full! Recent studies suggest that this is actually a dangerous combination. While coffee doesn't cause hearing loss, it's possible that caffeine can make it more difficult to recover from noise-induced hearing loss, especially when consumed in large amounts. The Gilmores would be better off skipping their extra-large coffee at Luke's Diner the day after a Bangles concert—or better yet—they should invest in some hearing protection!
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