By Danielle Moore // SWNS

w/ VIDEO + INFOGRAPHIC

Live music (38%), a movie playing in surround sound in a theater (35%) and fans cheering at a sporting event (28%) are among the sounds Americans have missed hearing in person since the start of the pandemic, according to new research. 

A new study revealed the ways that 2,000 Americans’ ages 40 and older have adapted to the changing soundscape of the COVID-19 crisis.

Twenty-four percent of respondents missed hearing the sound of children or grandchildren playing in-person, underscoring the impact that the pandemic has 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.”

“Someone saying they loved me,” added one respondent. 

Other respondents clearly missed feeling the heat, noting that they’ve pined for “tender whispers in my ear” and even the sound of “having sex.”

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Eargo in celebration of World Hearing Day, the survey also uncovered respondents’ views on the future of conversations post-pandemic.

Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed that the social distancing required by the pandemic has 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. 

Moreover, 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. 

So it’s not surprising that nearly seven in 10 people in this age group said they are 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.

Underscoring the desire for casual banter was the agreement of over seven in 10 respondents that what they’re most looking forward to post-pandemic is “shooting the shit” with friends and family in-person again. 

When it came to the topics respondents said would be off-limits, a clear picture emerged: 85% replied that they would be placing politics firmly off their list of talking points.

But while many Americans 40+ have been feeling out of touch with their friends and family, telehealth has shown serious promise as a means of helping them stay in touch with their health during this time.

Three quarters of survey respondents who tried telehealth during the pandemic were trying it for the first time, and 69% of those who plan to use it in the future cite convenience as their reason. 

The survey also revealed some insights regarding respondents’ COVID-19 vaccination plans.

While about one in five respondents are currently scheduled to receive the vaccine, only 39% of those who aren’t scheduled to receive it plan to make an appointment, while 28% don’t plan to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine and 28% are unsure. 

“It’s easy to get bogged down by all the negative talk that’s happened since the start of the pandemic,” said a spokesperson for Eargo, “but one enormous benefit, not only for this age group but for society as a whole, is the adoption of telehealth methods that will persist long after the pandemic is over, helping to keep patients connected to what matters most.”

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