OnePoll conducted research on behalf of hearing aid manufacturer Eargo, to celebrate World Hearing Day.

We polled 2,000 Americans aged 40 and over, and asked respondents how they felt about the changing soundscape during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our study revealed that live music, a movie playing in surround sound in a theater and fans cheering at a sporting event were among the sounds Americans had missed hearing in person since the start of the pandemic

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they missed hearing the sound of children or grandchildren playing in-person, underscoring the impact that the pandemic had on family gatherings.

When asked to write in their own descriptions of unique sounds they’ve missed during the pandemic, respondents’ answers included everything from “sermons in church” to “slot machines” and even “the sound of my paycheck being cashed.”

The research also found:

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed that the social distancing required by the pandemic had caused “the art of the conversation” to decline. 
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported that masks make it more difficult for them to understand what other people are saying. 
  • Fifty-seven percent also averred that it’s much harder to have a good conversation over phone or video chat than it is in person. 
  • Nearly seven in 10 people in this age group said they were feeling “out of touch” because of the pandemic. 

“By this point in the pandemic, we all know what it feels like to be on a Zoom call or FaceTime chat that just isn’t giving us that sense of connection we would have in-person, and how taxing that can be, but for older Americans and those with hearing loss, it can be even more of a strain,” said a spokesperson for Eargo.