Here in Maine, we like things loud.
":This is a really noisy location,": says Dr. Amanda Samoluk of the Warren Center in Bangor. ":We have a lot of industry noise. We have people who work in mills and who are in the logging industry…and we also have a lot of noisy hobbies.":
Hunting, biking, snowmobiling….
":There’s a lot of noise exposure going on in our state.":
And the kids…with those iPods. It all leads to hearing loss…it’s permanent, and happening younger, says Dr. Samoluk.
":We normally see noise induced hearing loss in I would say 40 on up, but we’re definitely seeing it younger and younger every year.":
Across the country, researchers say personal stereos and an aging population could make for a hearing loss epidemic.
":I sort of basically picked up that I wasn’t understanding people when they was talking,": says Dwight Grant. He was a longshoreman for years – loud years – that hurt the tiny hair cells inside the ear that do the listening. Like blades of grass under a heavy foot, those hair cells are damaged by sound louder than a normal speaking voice.
":So they’re the first to get mowed down over time,": says Dr. Samoluk.
Losing your hearing can make every sentence a challenge. Just ask Arleen Grant.
":Because he missed at least five words of what I said – so that changed the whole context. And when he gives you an answer, he’s answering something that has no relevance of what was asked!":
Dwight says he missed out on things. But, he’s hearing Arleen a bit better now, thanks to a hearing aid from the Warren Center.
Dr. Samoluk says to prevent damage, turn the sound on your headphones down to half volume. And, if you’re in a loud place, put in ear plugs or pop on earmuffs.
":If we can stop or eliminate it by wearing hearing protection, then by all means that’s the way you want to go.":