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Letter: Is concerned about children losing hearing
When I moved to Oak Harbor in 1982, I knew there was a Navy base here. My cousin who was stationed here during World War II told me he flew planes under Deception Pass Bridge. What I didn’t expect was that planes would be flying over my house.
This was 10 years before a noise disclosure form was required, and the seller didn’t mention it.
I didn’t ask him whether my house was under the flight path, and I didn’t ask the neighbors. I also didn’t ask them whether the Navy did target practice on our block.
In 1982 it was inconceivable to me that there could be a flight path over civilians’ houses. It was inconceivable that the U.S. military would train anyplace where training would damage civilians.
Just as I assumed no bullets would be flying in the street, I assumed no planes would be flying over my house low enough to destroy my hearing. I was right about the bullets.
Loss of hearing happens gradually, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. The Navy’s own safety center says planes as loud as those that fly over my house can cause permanent hearing loss. After living under those planes for 30 years, even with hearing aids it’s hard for me to make sense of a conversation with as few as five people.
One person has to repeat words frequently. In a restaurant the noise from other tables, magnified by my hearing aids, is torture. Videos are unintelligible without captions, and music is toneless and monotonous.
I cringe when people say their young children just love living under the jets, that they laugh and wave at the pilots. Somebody should tell them that those kids could be deaf before they’re old enough to vote.