Articles on ‘‘noise’’ that were referenced in the Reader’s Guide to Literature (and similar guides) from 1890 to 1990 were reviewed recently. These articles present an interesting history of the spread of knowledge about noise‐induced hearing loss. By determining the readership of each magazine and assuming that the information in that magazine was representative of the knowledge of that readership, it is possible to attribute certain levels of knowledge chronologically about noise‐induced hearing loss to different segments of society. For example, the first group to learn about noise‐induced hearing loss consisted of doctors who directly diagnosed hearing losses. Next to learn were the doctors who read journal articles written by the first doctors. Soon after the medical articles were published, the information propagated to the scientific/engineering and financial communities, and they added their own particular insights on the subject. Considerably later, magazines read by workers and their families published information on noise‐induced hearing loss, but seldom with sufficient information to enable workers to protect their own hearing.