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  • Jennifer Birtles

Sound of Metal's Portrayal of Hearing Loss on the Big Screen

Hearing loss isn’t something we often see depicted on the big screen but recent Academy Award winning film, Sound of Metal, treads new ground with the evocative story of a musician losing his hearing. The film’s unique and intricate sound design fully immerses you in Ruben’s world as he grapples with his hearing loss, allowing the audience to experience the world from his perspective.

The whole film is very visceral and hard-hitting; although Sound of Metal isn’t based on any one person’s story the experiences portrayed on screen resonate with many musicians and music-lovers alike. eargym’s co-founder and ex-DJ, Andy Shanks, remarked on his experiences, “I really felt for Ruben - there were many times after gigs where I would find myself going to bed with my ears still ringing. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, and I certainly didn’t think I was damaging my ears.”

Noise-induced hearing loss is a growing issue. Globally, the World Health Organisation estimates that 1.1 billion young people aged 12 to 35 years are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds. But it’s not just our ears that are impacted either; recent scientific research has shown a correlation between hearing and cognitive health, with mild hearing loss doubling your risk of developing dementia.

“eargym was born out of a passion to improve global hearing health”, explains Andy. “I’ve always felt that I had good hearing, however, since I’ve started testing my hearing regularly I’ve begun to see the impact that DJing has had. I have a noticeable difference between my ears now as I spent years with one headphone on cueing up the next record.”