Andrew Pancamo, 25, loves to rock out. You may recognize the LSU grad from his gigs at Gasa Gasa or Tipitina's, both in New Orleans.
He's the bass player for the local band, Motel Radio. He started playing at the age of 15, and credits his talent to tedious practice: four hours a day in a small room with a big amplifier. While his bass chops improved, the training had another effect.
"After every one of my practices I mean, I'd have a headache, or I would go home and go to sleep and hear ringings in my ears,” Pancamo said. “So after a while, you know that's not supposed to be happening."
A year ago, doctors told Pancamo that he suffered mild hearing loss. Pancamo never thought he would deal with hearing problems in his early 20s, but doctors actually told him he was very fortunate, saying the damage could have been a lot worse and it could've hit him even sooner.
"I've seen teenagers that have come in,” says Dr. Rachel Wood, an audiologist with the LSU Health and Sciences Center. Wood studies and treats hearing loss patients. She says that oftentimes, parents aren't properly educated about ways to prevent hearing loss, and because of it, she's seen more
cases in younger patients.
"They notice, yeah I'm not hearing as well,” Wood says. “Or when I'm in the cafeteria around my friends, it's hard to understand what they're saying and they notice a difference. I think we're going to see a possible increase in people who have noise exposure, noise induced hearing loss."