Back when he was younger it didn't really matter much to him, but after years and years of working with machinery, riding dirt bikes, and shooting guns, Don Stephens started to realize his hearing was drifting.
Stephens says his friends started getting frustrated because they always had to repeat themselves.
Stephens says, " I had trouble understanding certain voices and words and everybody was hollering at me to get hearing aids."
Stephens finally gave in and once he went to the hearing doctor he discovered that he has lost over 75% of his high frequency hearing. This was from repeat exposure to high volumes. Experts says that with this type of hearing loss it becomes hard to hear some consonants, so words and sentences don't make sense.
Hearing Instrument Specialist, John Fletemyer says, "When you lose the ability to hear the "s" sound, the English language is hard to understand. Just imagine how many words that effects. Just think you don't know if you're saying in or sin.."
Fletemyer warns that this is very common, "People don't know that when they go out and fire shotguns and things like that without protection, there is always damage."
Just like there is always damage when exposed to power tools, leaf blowers, snow mobiles, motorcycles, and other loud equipment.
"Those sounds he thought were so cool damaged his hearing," says Fletemyer.
However, this could have been prevented, Fletemyer says, if Stephens would have just worn ear protection.