Now Hear This -- If You Can

Americans are amazingly tolerant of the noise that engulfs them at work and play. They shouldn't be. The din causes millions to lose their hearing, slowly but surely.

Diane Russ of Evanston, Ill. never stays in the kitchen when the dishwasher is running. She wouldn't think of using power tools without wearing earplugs. And on weekends she keeps her windows closed. "Some mornings you can't walk outside because so many people are using their power mowers," she laments. "It's very noisy out there." Who would dispute it? From the roar of airplanes to the wail of sirens, the blast of stereos to the blare of movie sound tracks, noise is a constant part of American life. But few go to the lengths Russ does to avoid it. Noise is...

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