LiveSience reports on work presented at the spring meeting of the Acoustical Society of America that compares the hearing of a broad cross-section of Americans over time. What was surprising is that despite technical and economic factors during the last 35 years (think boom boxes, growth in construction and its associated noise, explosion in jet travel, etc.), the hearing of the average American is about the same instead of significantly worse. For completeness, I should also note that women's hearing was better than men's, but that shouldn't be surprising (shooting ranges, motorbikes, and movies with lots of explosions immediately come to mind as possible explanations for that!).
For the LiveScience report, click here.