Health and Lifestyle

Tips To Protect Your Hearing in the Fall

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Using the SoundPrint App to Find Quiet Places

Dining out is a popular pastime. Many of us love heading out to our favorite restaurant to enjoy some delicious food while catching up with friends and family. In fact, dining out has become so popular in the United States that the National Restaurant Association has forecast restaurant revenue to hit a record breaking $863B in 2019.

But one thing that’s also rising with this revenue is the volume of noise in restaurants. It’s estimated that restaurant noise will often climb into the high 70-decibel (dB) range. In some instances, it can even hit the mid-80s dB range (the same level as a diesel truck!). To put that into perspective, normal conversation is around 60 dB. Above 70 dB, it becomes difficult to understand the conversation. And this is for people without a hearing impairment.

Fortunately, there is a solution to help you continue to enjoy dining out. Today, we’re looking at how to find quiet places with the SoundPrint App.

What is the SoundPrint App?

SoundPrint was first launched in New York City in April, 2018. Its founder, Gregory Scott, himself suffered with hearing loss. “I recall many times sitting at a restaurant table feeling completely lost in the conversation while others conversed and connected with each other,” he detailed. “I would often nod my head in unison with the conversation, pretending to hear my companions when I could not, and then idly pass the time by entertaining myself with whatever fiction entered my head.”

To help improve his experience, Gregory would Google “quiet spots” near him. The results, however, often left him frustrated. He found that some places which were listed as being quiet were, in fact, playing loud music. Undeterred, Gregory began to build up his own database of quiet spots. Using a simple decibel meter app on his smartphone, he began identifying quieter venues. This led to the creation of the SoundPrint app.

Using the SoundPrint App to Find Quiet Places

According to their website, “SoundPrint allows you to rate and review places based on their sound levels. This way you can plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.”

The advantage of the app is that users can actively feed their own experiences back into it. Users are encouraged to rate venues based on how noisy they are. Measurements can be taken with the app’s built-in decibel meter, allowing you to record the venue sound and upload to the database at the same time.

SoundPrint ranks bars, cafes, reading spots, restaurants and more. And when you’re reviewing information about a venue, you know that the feedback is coming from real-time users. As their site says, it’s “like Yelp, but for noise.”

SoundPrint is continuing to build out its database, and encourages users to contribute. So if you’ve visited a quiet venue recently and couldn’t see it on the SoundPrint app, upload it so that other people can enjoy the quiet place too!

If you find yourself struggling to hear in loud environments like restaurants, you may be experiencing hearing  loss. 

Treating a hearing loss with hearing aids can have wide-reaching benefits to your lifestyle. If you’d like to book in a hearing assessment to check for a hearing loss, get in touch with Clear Wave Hearing Center today. Our hearing care specialists are happy to help. Call us today on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your complimentary hearing assessment today.

Posted by Admin

Cocktail Party Hearing Tips

As the holiday season approaches, your social diary is likely filling up. Family gatherings and cocktail parties with friends tend to increase in frequency at this time of the year. If you have a hearing loss, you may find that what should be an enjoyable event can end up quite stressful.

Cocktail parties can be difficult for many of us, but with a hearing loss they can be very tough! The nature of cocktail parties generally includes multiple conversations going on at one time. This cacophony of noise bouncing around the room can make it difficult to understand the conversation. It can be even harder if there is background music!

Cocktail Party Hearing Tips

You may be tempted to avoid cocktail parties altogether this holiday season. But we’re here to tell you that’s not necessary with these cocktail party hearing tips.

  1. Position, position, position. When you arrive to the cocktail party, choose a position that is going to maximize your hearing capability. A corner or against a wall will help to reduce background noise. Avoid standing too close to any sources of noise, like speakers.
  2. Arrive rested. Cocktail parties can be taxing. Focusing on the conversation can leave you feeling very tired. Make sure you arrive rested to maximize your hearing capability.
  3. Let people know about your hearing loss. Don’t be ashamed to tell someone about your hearing loss. Ask that they facilitate communication by facing you when speaking. Remind them that they may have to speak up.
  4. Don’t try to guess. If you’ve misunderstood something that someone has said, rather than trying to guess what they are saying, ask. If you don’t want to verbally ask, try a visual cue like cupping your hand behind your ear. Plus, this simply yet nifty gesture can actually help improve your hearing.
  5. Adjust your hearing aid settings. Some hearing aids have settings designed for louder environments like cocktail parties. Adjusting your hearing aid in advance means you won’t have to worry when you’re at the party.
  6. Take breaks. If you are feeling fatigued, take a break! Find a quiet space to help your ears and brain relax for a while. Once you’re ready, head back in for some fun!

Cocktail parties can be great fun, and your hearing loss shouldn’t hold you back. Remember, at the end of the day you should be enjoying yourself! If you’d like to discuss further, get in touch with the team at Clear Wave Hearing Center. While you’re here, we’d be happy to check the settings of your hearing aids. Call us today on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your complimentary hearing assessment today.

Posted by Admin

Tips To Protect Your Hearing in the Fall

As the leaves start to change color, it signals that fall is on the way. It’s a beautiful season, but unfortunately it can also bring some threats to your hearing. Whether you have a diagnosed hearing loss or not, we have some tips to help protect your hearing.

Sounds of the Season

The cooler weather brings a mixture of fun and challenging things to our lives. There are a lot of things about the fall that expose us to loud noise and this can pose the risk of noise induced hearing loss. Even when temporary, it’s uncomfortable and often accompanied by tinnitus symptoms. But if the exposure is repeated you may even end up with permanent damage to your hearing.

Exposure to sounds over 80dB for a prolonged period can cause damage. But the louder the sound, the quicker damage can occur. 

Here are some of the fall related sounds to be aware of …

  • Winter sports should be done with adequate protection for your hearing. For example a Snowmobile can register at 78dB which is almost loud enough to damage your hearing. Protect yourself from the cold and reduce the risk by wearing protection.
  • With all those fallen leaves you might leave the rake in the shed and reach for the leaf blower. But beware as they can reach 85dB so limit yourself to less than 2 hours and use ear plugs.
  • When the weather gets particularly bad, the salt lorries get to work. Whilst this keeps things moving in our modern world, pay attention to much you are hearing them and take steps to protect your hearing. At 85-90dB it takes only 2 hours to damage your hearing.
  • Clearing your drive etc with a snow blower could take longer than you realise and at 92dB be sure to not exceed 2 hours and do use adequate protection.
  • If you get a chance to use the lawn mower, remember to use some protection. At an average of 100 Db, it may only take 14 minutes to cause damage.
  • If you partake in hunting please protect your hearing. Just one shot from a hunting rifle is 140+dB. Unprotected, this is loud enough to cause immediate and permanent damage to your hearing.

Feeling the Chill

The cold itself is also a potential problem for your ears, as we discussed in our blog on about how the cold affects your hearing. Use earmuffs, an ear covering headband or a hat with ear flaps to protect your ears from the cold and excess water vapour in the air.

Also help your immune system by eating plenty of vitamin dense foods and getting enough exercise in order to fend off any seasonal ailments such as colds. Here is some more helpful advice.

What to Do

Awareness of noises is only part of protecting your hearing. Owning and using suitable protection is another. We recommend ear plugs or over ear headphones for any noisy activities, (you can also find bespoke ear plugs made to suit your ears).

If you are concerned about the cold affecting your hearing aid or you wish to have a check up before the cold weather returns, come in and see our hearing care team. Please call us on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your next appointment today.

Posted by Admin

Tips for Enjoying Summer Parties with Hearing Loss

The warmer weather is a great time to be out socializing. You may have already been invited to a few summer parties or barbecues. If you have a hearing loss, you may hesitate to accept the invitation. However, communicating at outdoor social gatherings can actually be easier than indoor gatherings! To start with, there’s normally more space for people to spread out, allowing conversation at a normal level without needing to shout. The environment is also often more suited to conversation, as sounds aren’t bouncing off of as many hard surfaces.

To help you make the most of social gatherings, here are our 5 tips to enjoy summer parties with hearing loss:

  1. Be Prepared

Ask your host ahead of the party what activities are likely to take place. Bring the necessary hearing protection or other items in preparation. For example, if it’s a pool party you’ll want to consider bringing a dry box to store your hearing aids. If there will be fireworks, bring some ear protection along. It’s also a good idea to pack a spare set of batteries. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, but remove your hearing aid when you apply it.

  1. Arrive Early 

This will give you chance to speak to the host about your hearing and request the music volume to be kept down. It also enables you to pick a spot that is ideal for your hearing and communication needs. Look for somewhere quiet i.e. away from speakers or AC units. Choose a well lit area. To help with lip reading, try to sit so that the sun doesn’t glare  the face of those you are speaking with.

  1. Move Around

As these events are more casual than dining indoors, feel free to mingle and move around, especially if weather conditions change. It’s good experience to communicate with different people and about different topics. Remember to use visual cues and be open about your hearing rather than guessing or pretending you have heard them. This helps to raise awareness and reduce stigma as well as helping you feel included and avoiding any embarrassment from incorrect guesses.

  1. Take a Break

Take a quiet break whenever you start to feel tired or overwhelmed. This can function as a reset for your brain and ears by just relaxing for a few minutes. Be guided by how you feel and don’t over do it.

  1. Let Technology Help

Try to set your hearing aids up in advance, experiment with settings by going to populated places outdoors. Get to learn the functions of your device and download any apps that would be useful too. You may also find that accessories such as FM systems may be helpful.

Above all, it can help to approach social functions with a sense of humor. Mishaps may well happen, but if you have realistic expectations and you can laugh them away you will get much more enjoyment from the event.

Socialising and sunshine are both fantastic for your wellbeing, so embrace the opportunities this summer. If you have any concerns or you would like your hearing checked before an event, get in touch with the Clear Wave Hearing team today. Call 507-208-7002 or click here.

Posted by Admin

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