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Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free. Health experts say more Americans are facing serious hearing loss at a younger age. Our life long exposure to ear-splitting music, industrial noise and other forms of noise pollution are the main causes. Brick Walters reports.
(sfx: quiet living room ... grandfather clock ticking)
Brick: Harry Graham is a 50 year old man who hates to admit that his 75 year old mother has always been right about one thing in particular.
Harry: She always said, "If you listen to that garbage you call music with the headphones turned up like that ... You're going to ruin your ears. I resented her saying that and I turned up the music just to show her. And now I have to admit that dear old mom here ... was exactly right.
Harry: (raised voice) I said "you were right, mom." About the hearing.
Mom: About what?
Harry: About me losing my hearing.
Mom: You're boozing?
Harry: My hearing.
Mom: You don't wear an earring, do you?
Brick: This sad, sorry conversation is being re-played in homes across America, as grown children who are losing their hearing try to talk to their older parents ...who are also ... losing their hearing. And if there are ... say ... teenagers in the house, they're in an environment where voices are raised and the TV is blaring. So for relaxation and quiet, they retreat to their rooms.
Like this one here. I'm going to open the door for a moment ...
(sfx: door open)
As you can hear, you can't hear very much here. Let me get the door.
(sfx: door close)
For those of you who didn't hear it, what I said was " As you can hear, you can't hear very much here." And alternative teen hang-outs aren't much better. Coffee shops, for example, have roaring espresso machines to add to the din. And even below the young teen generation, a new group of Americans are hiking the volume.
(sfx: loud crying group)
Nurse: THIS IS THE NURSERY. WE ALL WEAR EAR PROTECTION HERE, BECAUSE TODAY'S NEWBORNS ARE 20% LOUDER THAN THEY WERE ONLY FIVE YEARS AGO!
Brick: HOW CAN YOU STAND IT?
Nurse: I'M TRYING TO GET A JOB IN A LUMBER MILL!
Brick: I CERTAINLY WISH YOU WELL!
Nurse NO, BUT THERE'S A SINK OVER THERE.
(sfx: loud crying group fade out)
Brick: But is there a silver lining in all of this? Not really, although social critic Dorothy Darwin is trying to make the best of it.
Dorothy: This is a time when so much is being said - more than ever before, but less and less of it is worth hearing. Current television, music, advertisements, that "Who Let the Dogs Out" song, casual conversation ... we are better off not hearing them anyway. Even solemn news stories about the obvious like this one ... people are not missing them much.
(sfx: airplane approaches, Brick lifts volume as it draws near)
Brick: But there is still so much that we SHOULD hear. That we WANT to hear. Such as police sirens, tornado drills, Beethoven. A lark. Surf. Crickets at night. A candy bar being opened. The sound of carpenter ants eating your house. A lethal gas leak. The snoring of your true love. Will indiscriminate noise pollution force these things into the background? Will we soon live in a world for which the sound track is the whooshing and ringing of your own ears? Time will tell! This is Brick Walters!
(sfx: jet roaring overhead)