I dislike loud talkers. You know the ones: Those people who are so loud that you can’t hear yourself think. They might be inches from your face and they still speak decibels over normal conversation levels.

I dislike loud talkers on cell phones, too. Now that practically everyone has a cell, it’s becoming more of a problem. People yell into their cell phones as if they’re yelling down the street or the person they’re talking to was in China.

The loud cell talkers are the worst in an elevator or any confined place. They’re obnoxious because they don’t have the etiquette to be considerate of the people around them.

Are they deaf? Are they afraid someone’s not listening to them? Do they need more attention? These questions race through my mind when I hear a loud talker. But instead of saying anything, I shut my mouth, smile, nod and get more and more annoyed. 

Apparently I’m not alone. In a Sprint PCS survey, 73 percent of those polled said Americans are less considerate than they were five years ago. Eighty percent said cell phone users specifically are less considerate than they were five years ago. Ironically, the poll shows while most of us think Americans are getting ruder each year, it’s the other guy being rude — not us.

Regardless of who the culprit is, the problem is getting worse. As we get more and more self-absorbed and egotistic, we are becoming less aware of others around us. The solution?  Ignore them? Confront them? Earplugs? A muzzle?

Maybe just a hug and saying, “It’s OK – I hear you” will suffice.

KHNL News 8’s Melisa Uchida is a Boston University graduate. Catch her Monday through Friday on the evening newscasts. Contact her at melisauchida@earthlink.net