No. 202



My former business partner, the late Bob Gannaway used to tell a story about Alexander the Jumping Flea. It seems this man had trained a flea to sit on his arm and on command, the flea would jump over a pencil or some small object and land safely on the other side. After a while this flea got so good at the routine that this man named him Alexander and he would show him off to everyone who came along. One day he was telling a gentleman about this trained flea and the gentleman said, Lets see him do it. The man then placed this flea on his arm, got his pencil in place and said, Jump Alexander, The flea just sat there. Again he said, Jump Alexander. Again no response. At this point the gentleman said, I think your flea is deaf.

Naturally this man was distraught and he said, I want to try one more time; Jump Alexander. Again, nothing. At this point this man looked at his flea a little closer and proudly said, No wonder, this is not even Alexander. Regardless of whether it was hearing, training or a case of mistaken identity, this is my way of introducing you to the very important topic of hearing health that has some potential benefits for vast majority of people in our great nation.

A few weeks ago I received a fax from the National Campaign for Hearing Health based in Washington, D.C., and they asked me to help make the general public more aware of the dangers of toxic noise and the resulting hearing loss. This is a very serious problem for over twenty eight million Americans who have complete or serious hearing loss. With noise levels in some areas and sectors of American life, the problem may only get worse. If you or someone you love is exposed to excessive toxic noise, here are some things you may need to consider.

Monitoring and testing hearing regularly is as important as checking your teeth, blood pressure and vision. Without testing, hearing loss symptoms can go unrecognized, leading to serious long-term damage, including tinnitus (a chronic buzzing and ringing in the ears) and potentially, deafness. Prevention and rehabilitation are possible through early detection and appropriate treatment programs. The National Campaign for Hearing Health reminds you to see your doctor regularly to test and monitor your hearing.

In the meantime, there are simple steps that you can take to ensure your hearing health every day of the year. No. 1-EAR AIDS..Wear ear plugs or other protection when you know youll be exposed to loud noises, fireworks, lawn mowers, power boats, airplanes and motorcycles. No. 2-VOLUME DISCIPLINE..Care for your hearing on a daily basis by turning down your car and home stereos, headphones and television. Louder isnt better. No.3-RAPID RESPONSE..When ambushed by toxic noises, including sirens, airplane engines and jack hammers, etc., plug your ears with your fingers. No. 4-FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY..Prepare yourself for the fireworks show by sitting a comfortable distance from the display or by using ear plugs. Firecrackers produce a noise that ranks between 130 and 190 decibels, which is approximately 110 decibels above a safe noise level and where irreversible ear damage can occur.

In conclusion, I realize this is something most of us dont give the time of day unless the noise level is so high that it hurts our ears and then we may plug our ears with our fingers. True!! For a copy of the Hearing Checklist and a free set of earplugs, call 1-800-829-5934 or visit their website at (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)