LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Every day we experience sound in our environment, typically at safe levels. But what happens when those levels become too loud?
Loud bells are just one of the sounds of the GE Oil & Gas Foundry in Downtown Lufkin. Employees there experience loud sounds on a consistent basis.
"If you work there long enough, it's a very good chance that you're going to have hearing loss," said Richard Geraci, owner of The Geraci Audibel Hearing Center.
Geraci says due to loud working conditions in the foundry, many employees have turned to him for assistance.
"Every single one of them has had what we call a 'fittable', where they need help. Every single one, not half of them, not 70 percent, every single one," Geraci said.
On Monday, the corporation announced it will soon be eliminating a total of 262 positions, meaning a loss of healthcare benefits for those employees, which prompted Geraci to get the word out about his services.
"[We're] providing quality hearing help at no charge for them to where they can not only improve their quality of life, but they can protect their future," Geraci said.
A future Geraci understands may be uncertain for the 262 employees expected to be laid off.
"One of the last things you're looking for is hearing help, especially if you haven't noticed that you have a problem," said Geraci.
Which he said many employees have not.
"They owe it to themselves and to their family just to have it checked," Geraci said.
A hearing check, something that's free as well. And as for the reason behind the offer to GE employees?
"Lufkin Industries has been here for over 100 years, we've been here for over 50 and we feel like it's something we need to do. It's something we owe to the community and all the workers at GE and Lufkin Industries," said Geraci.
Geraci says symptoms of hearing loss include playing electronic devices at higher than normal volumes and constantly asking others to repeat themselves.