WASHINGTON -- When your teen-age child or friend is ignoring you, it may not be a sullen pout. He or she may not hear you.
Thanks to lawn mowers, chain saws, firecrackers, target-shooting and high-decibel stereos, young people increasingly are destroying their inner-ear cells that process sound and are slowly but surely going deaf.
"A shocking fact is that noise-induced hearing loss can begin between 10 and 20 years of age, much earlier than originally thought," Dr. James B. Snow Jr., director of the National Institute on Deafness, told Congress yesterday.