There are about 43 million Americans (or 1 in 5 Americans) dealing with a disability today. About half of that population has a hearing disability and that number is growing, especially among young adults. While many adults lose their hearing because of old age, many adults are losing their hearing through loud noise, something that is highly preventable. My initial hearing loss is NOT noise-induced however the end result is still the same. Knowing what I do about hearing loss, I would hate to see anyone start to lose their hearing over something that is so easily preventable.
Of course, many young adults have already heard this advice before and I expect people not to take it seriously. I suspect it is because hearing loss isn’t seen the same way blindness or paralysis is. In my personal experience, my friends and family constantly underestimate what hearing loss can do to you psychologically. That said, I came across an article over at Ulf’s blog: a young woman named Stephanie volunteered to be deaf for a day by wearing soft foam plugs all day and then recording her thoughts.
It’s easy to hear about these things, nod your head, think it can’t happen to you, then move on with your life. But it CAN happen to anyone: you don’t need to be born with it and it can happen much easier than you think! And once you start to lose it, chances are you will never be able to restore it to its optimal level.
I challenge you to do what Stephanie did for an entire day.
Go out to your job and do things you would normally do every day. Try using a phone and watching television. If Stephanie can feel the way she does after a day of volunteering, imagine what she would feel like after months and years! For those of you who volunteer, I would really like hear your thoughts, no pun intended.
My point is that noise-induced hearing loss is a preventable disability for many young people. I want to see less people with it and if people understand the implications better, I feel that preventing it will be easier to do. So please, please, practice hearing loss prevention: avoid being in loud places and avoid using your phones/MP3 players for long periods of time and if you do, keep it at a reasonable noise level. I know this is a difficult thing to do given that cell phones and MP3 players are being used like never before, but any effort is better than no effort.
Take care everyone!
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