Health and Lifestyle

Exercises for Your Hearing

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Hearing Aids

7 Must-Have Hearing Aid Accessories

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Exercises for Your Hearing

Did you know that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month? You may not think that Alzheimer’s has any connection to hearing loss, but ongoing research is showing a link between the two. Although hearing loss doesn’t mean that you will develop Alzheimer’s, minimizing the risk of hearing loss can also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

To help keep your hearing at its best, below are some simple exercises for your hearing.

Daily Exercises For Your Hearing

These daily activities don’t require any special equipment other than a willing partner!

  • Simulate noisy environments at home to give yourself practice managing noisy social settings. Simply turn on the television and/or some music at an average volume and focus on having a conversation in the same room. Tuning out background noise is a skill that develops with practice.
  • With your eyes closed, ask your partner to move quietly around the room or surrounding areas and then makes a noise. The challenge is to see if you can locate where the sound is coming from, and identify how far away it is.

If you don’t have a partner readily available, try these activities instead.

  • Practice mediation; it’s very beneficial for your hearing to build your mind’s ability to concentrate. Be patient with yourself, try sitting quietly with eyes closed and just paying attention to your breathing. If you’re unsure, try a guided meditation. Gradually build up the amount of time you meditate for.
  • A similar activity is isolating the sounds you can hear around you. Once again it involves sitting quietly with eyes closed and drawing your attention to what you can hear.  Once you have heard all the sounds, try to isolate one to focus on for a short period before moving onto another.
  • Certain Yoga poses (tree, lotus, cobra and triangle) are known to have some hearing health benefits because they boost circulation to the ears and brain. (We recommend speaking to your physician before undertaking any new exercise regime. You may also find our blog on exercise and hearing health useful.)

Games for Your Hearing

Alongside your daily activities, there are games that can help exercise your hearing.

Online Programs for Your Hearing

Challenge your hearing with these online programs.

  • LACE Auditory Training These 20 minute daily trainings build communication skills within difficult hearing situations.
  • Forbrain® uses a special bone conduction headphone and dynamic filtered microphone. Used for just a few minutes each day for approx 6 weeks, as you talk your voice helps to train better attention, concentration, memory and pronunciation.

At Clear Wave Hearing Center, we have a results oriented approach and we believe that better informed patients make better choices. For more information about the links between hearing loss and your memory, check out our blog on Memory Function and Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know. If it’s time to book in your annual hearing assessment, or if you suspect that your hearing may have changed, don’t delay in booking in an appointment today. Give us a call on on 507-208-7002 or click here to request an appointment online.

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7 Must-Have Hearing Aid Accessories

Did you know that every May we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month? The theme for 2019 is ‘Communication Across the Lifespan’. If you have a hearing loss and wear a hearing aid, you are likely well aware of how much of a life-changing investment it can be. To make the most out of your hearing aids, we’ve put together 7 must-have hearing aid accessories.


Batteries are the lifeline of your hearing aid. Although it may seem like a fairly obvious accessory, running out of battery power in your hearing aid has a direct impact on your ability to communicate.

Devices can be rechargeable. at Clear Wave Hearing Center we are pleased to offer the ‘Zpower’ rechargeable system for new and current ‘Opticon Opn’ ‘miniRITE’ hearing aid users. (All rechargeable devices require their own charger.)

If your device uses disposable batteries, then we strongly suggest that you keep spare batteries with you at all times. Batteries can last up to 10 days, but do remember to switch off your device when it’s not in use.

Cleaning Kit

Your hearing aid is a piece of modern technology that needs thorough care and maintenance. When you purchase new hearing aids, our team at Clear Wave Hearing Center will teach you the proper cleaning techniques. (We are also on hand for repairs if they’re ever needed!) Regular cleaning keeps your device working effectively. A cleaning kit should include all the items you require including a storage case.


If you are active, frequently go from hot to cold environments or you live in a humid area, we recommend investing in a hearing aid dehumidifier. Store your device overnight in one of these to remove condensation and preserve your hearing aids.

Bluetooth Compatible Technology

If you have a Bluetooth compatible device, there are many innovative products that could benefit you. For example, if you find background noise challenging, a wireless microphone in a central position will transmit conversation directly to your hearing aid, enabling you to more fully engage. A phone clip can do a similar thing, streaming calls, music and other audio straight to your hearing aid from a smartphone.

Caption Phone

A qualified hearing specialist can provide you with proof of your hearing loss and the need for a hearing aid compatible phone. That could entitle you to a caption telephone. This useful accessory shows a text of the conversation coming through the telephone for you to read along.

Note: This type of accessory may need a broadband internet connection.

Remote Control

A hearing aid remote control enables you to easily change the settings and volume of your device without removing it. You can also switch between audio sources and check your remaining battery level.

Television Streaming

It can be frustrating when watching television with others if you need the volume at a different level. A television streaming device sends the audio directly to your hearing aid at your desired volume, meaning you can all enjoy your favorite shows together!

If you’d like more information on accessories for your hearing aids, come in and speak with the hearing care professionals at Clear Wave Hearing Center. Call us on 507-208-7002, or click here to request an appointment online.

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International Noise Awareness Day: Are Restaurants Getting Too Loud?

The 24th April is the 24th annual International Noise Awareness Day. The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) founded this event to encourage us all to do something about bothersome noise in our daily lives.

We can encounter dangerous levels of noise in many parts of day to day life, from commuter traffic to the rumbling of the subway. Going out to eat, however, is often one place where we don’t think about the noise volume. To celebrate this year’s International Noise Awareness Day we’re asking: Are restaurants getting too loud?


Loud noise can affect our health in many ways. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a major concern, but recent studies have also been investigating links to depression, cognitive decline, heart disease and much more.

In brief, the louder the noise, the shorter period of time it’s safe to be exposed to it. Guidelines from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health state a maximum of 8 hours at 85 dB. They also warn that hearing can be damaged by exposure to 110 dB after only 1 minute and 29 seconds.


Tom Sietsema, a Washington Post Magazine food critic, began recording the noise volumes in restaurants alongside his impressions of the food and menu. By using a decibel meter, he ranked restaurants from those that allow comfortable conversation, to those that were extremely loud.

In his Spring Dining Guide, Sietsema used a decibel meter to rank the noise volumes alongside the food in the restaurants. Alarmingly, in the 30 restaurants reviewed, only 5 measured as 70 decibels or below, which Sietsema noted as volumes that allowed for comfortable conversation. 18 measured between 71 – 80 decibels, requiring “raised voices”. 7 measured over 80 decibels, which Sietsema marked as “extremely loud”.

So why is this happening?

The way modern restaurants are designed as minimalist spaces offer little to no sound absorption. The walls are exposed brick, the tables are undressed, materials used can be cold and hard such as marble or metals. The noisy kitchens are often openview, flat screen televisions adorn the walls and high-spec music systems are seamlessly fitted into the ceilings. Let’s not forget that more the restaurant is incentivized to fill as many tables and chairs as possible. Combined, these can all lead to one noisy environment!

What Can You Do?

If you already have a hearing loss, loud restaurant environments can further complicate conversation. But there are things that you can do to make the most of your dining experience.

Sound print is a new app that is building a database of quiet restaurants. Using this database you can look for a restaurant that fits your needs. You can also add in your own recommendations for quiet restaurants, and help others find appropriate places to dine.

To avoid the crowds, try to choose a quieter time or day of the week to dine. When you book, don’t be afraid to ask for a quiet table. You may consider a table situated away from the kitchen, or perhaps ask for a booth that may help reduce the background noise. Finally, set your hearing aid accordingly to manage the background noise.

Noise can permeate into most areas of our lives, but noise induced hearing loss is avoidable. We highly recommend regular hearing checks to screen for any changes. If you have any concerns or would like to arrange a hearing assessment, call the team at Clear Wave Hearing Center on 507-208-7002 or click here to book.

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Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

An estimated 17% of American adults have a hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only 1 in 4 of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. The reasons for not seeking professional help range from affordability, assuming hearing loss is a normal part of aging, being unaware of a loss of hearing, or perceived stigmas surrounding hearing aid use. By highlighting the risks of untreated hearing loss, we hope to encourage more people to get their hearing checked.


Untreated hearing loss can put a strain on relationships at home, work and with friends. Frustrations can be felt on both sides and relationships may start to deteriorate without treatment intervention.

Mental Well-being

Do you avoid going out because you worry about the potential embarrassment of not hearing others well? Maybe you struggle to concentrate around background noise or you believe you would be judged if you talk about your hearing impairment. These conditions can lead to social isolation, anxiety and ultimately to depression.

If this wasn’t serious enough, there are other risks too…

  • A John Hopkins study has shown that untreated hearing loss may cause cognitive decline to speed up by as much as 30-40%, potentially due to the extra sound processing workload.
  • John Hopkins also discovered that even with a mild untreated hearing loss, you are twice as likely to develop dementia. This risk increases 5 fold with more severe hearing loss.


Yet another John Hopkins study has highlighted that your risk of falls will triple if you have a mild hearing loss and the risks increase as your degree of hearing loss worsens. Further to this, Professor Neil Bhattacharyaat of Harvard Medical School attributes our hearing as having “a tremendous protective role.” He explains that “if you can’t hear well, you lose that crucial warning system that would signal to you that a car or truck is driving up behind you while you’re biking, for example.”

Health Conditions

Your hearing loss could be an indicator of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. For example, Harvard University found that hearing loss is 54% more likely if you have heart disease, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) state that hearing loss is twice as common in those with diabetes.

Many of the above mentioned studies go on to show that treating hearing loss with hearing aids helps to mitigate the risks. If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, please don’t delay seeking treatment. Call Clear Wave Hearing Center on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your hearing check today.

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