Though I was unaware of it, I began to damage my hearing as early as twelve years of age. I spent summers in Northern Manitoba prospecting for gold with my thirteen-year-old brother and a seventy-year-old family friend. We canoed and dynamited our way across the province, hoping to make a strike. We did, but that’s another story. At sixteen to eighteen years I worked as an underground miner in Northern Ontario and in Yellowknife NWT, using pneumatic drills and regularly blasting as many as three or four hundred sticks of dynamite at a time. Ear protection was not considered important. From there, I spent seven more years in the field with the CNR, another notorious source of noise, particularly in the dying years of the steam era.

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If you have a hearing loss, there is an added layer of self-care needed. Being hard of hearing can add stresses and frustrations, and there is a whole gamut of new skills and tasks that require our attention. We have to learn more about hearing loss in general and our own hearing in particular.

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