Excerpts from "Rock 'n' risk" bu Tom McNichols in U S A WEEKEND, 10-12 January 1997:

"'If you choose to blow out your hearing, ' say Lars Ulrich, drummer for the heavy metal group Metallica, who wear earplugs during concerts, 'at least do it understanding the consequences. Once you lose your hearing, you don't get it back.'

"When the White Trash Debutantes play San Franscico's Bottom of the Hill night club this Sunday, patrons literally will get an earful. Earplugs will be distributed to the audience.

"'Hearing loss is a major problem . . . that's not being addressed,' says Kathy Peck, whose non-profit organization, Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (HEAR), is passing out the plugs. Last year HEAR distributed 60,000 earplugs in 26 cities, many on the Lollapalooza tour.

"Noise-induced hearing loss affects 10 million Americans (part of the 14 percent jump in the US rate since the early '70s)."

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Excerpts from article by Karen Shideler, THE WICHITA (Kansas) EAGLE, in THE DENVER POST, 14 January 1997:

Dr. Ray Hull, formerly with the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), Greeley, is now professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at Wichita, Kansas, State University. Says he: Hearing loss is the most frequently occuring disability among Americans, and the number of people with hearing loss continues to grow . . . Some hearing loss is inevitable (and even progressive unless) we protect our ears at appropriate times.

We have 15,000 to 18,000 sound receptor cells in each ear. The higher decibel level, the less time it takes for the cells to start dying and permanent hearing damage to occur. Damage can occur after 75 seconds at 130 decibels; at 135 decibels, 35-40 seconds. A middle school band was measured at 140 decibels, meaning damage starts after 15 seconds . . . Most rock bands and many night clubs keep decibels in the 126-128 decibels, damage sets in after 145-180 seconds.

Other causes that hasten hearing loss: Walkmans - - Because the earphones direct the sound right into your ear, the Walkman you listen to is worse than the boom-box where the sound is diffused. Cars - - the noise inside a small Honda or a Toyota Tercel registers 90-95, so a person needs to pull over every 2 hours to rest ears. Also, the window you crack for some fresh air lets in enough noise to cause problems over time. Hull wears earplugs even in his car.... Patent medicines - - asprins, salicylates, and quinine.

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In the "Year in review '96", editors of WESTWORD, 26 December 1996 - 1 January 1997, note two ear-raising events:

1. An Aurora man called police to report finding a finger in his bathroom sink. 'I don't want to sound like I'm crazy, but there's a finger, and I don't know how it got there, and I've been home all day.' he told a dispatcher. Officers sent to the scence determined that the digit was actually a foam ear plug that 'elongated' after getting wet.

2. The City of Denver filed animal-cruelty charges against a woman for delaying ear surgery on her son's box turtle because didn't have the money. "Turtles don't have the same expression or the same behaviors as dogs and cats, so we tend to ignore their pain and their needs,' said the veterinarian who turned in the woman.

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HEAR NOW is, wrote Chuck Green in THE DENVER POST, 18 December 1996, "an organization [that] supplies hearing aids and other audiology services to indigent people who have trouble hearing. This year alone, nearly 2,000 - - poor children, parents, and seniors (out of nearly 3,500 applicants) - - have received hearing aids from HEAR NOW."

HEAR NOW is a grantee in THE DENVER POST's "Season to Share" holiday fund-raising program. Under this program, donations are matched dollar for dollar (that is, doubled) by the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation.

Also in THE DENVER POST, 30 December 1996: "Hear Now, a national non-profit organization, has received an $8,000 grant from the Denver Foundation. Hear Now provides hearing aids and cochlear implants for low-income hard of hearing adults and children. The grant will provide these devices to qualifying residents of the Denver metro area."

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