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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.

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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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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?

Noise

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.

Restaurants

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.

Posted by Admin

New Year, New Ears!

Welcome 2019! Many of you may have made new year’s resolutions, and hopefully they’re still going strong. Perhaps this is the year you’ve committed to better health, but have you considered your hearing health as a part of it? Good health and hearing are important for a good quality of life. So this year, we’re encouraging new year, new ears!

Book Your Hearing Assessment

The best way to start your journey toward better hearing is by booking in for a hearing assessment. If you’ve never had a hearing assessment, or if it’s been a while since your last one, we recommend booking an appointment. The process is simple and painless, but important for us to establish a baseline for your current hearing levels.

We recommend regular hearing assessments. We get our eyes checked on a yearly basis, and we suggest the same frequency for your ears. Changes in your hearing can be subtle and gradual, without symptoms and easily go unnoticed for long periods.

Treatment

Treatment for hearing loss depends on the condition, but most treatment options include hearing aids. Today’s devices have advanced so much that they can be barely visible. Some devices have Bluetooth enabled or wireless connectivity. They can be used in conjunction with apps, personal amplification devices, smart jewelry and clever products such as alarm clocks, a doorbell or your television too. At Clearwave Hearing, we have a variety of hearing aid devices to fit your lifestyle and needs.

Benefits

The benefits to looking after your hearing health are widespread. Hearing loss has been linked with depression, cognitive decline and the increased chances of accidents such as slips or trips. Some of the benefits of improved hearing health include:

  • Stronger relationships – If you struggle with hearing loss, you may be missing parts of the conversation. Improving your hearing will strengthen your communication, and subsequently relationships.
  • Improved safety – Your ears keep you safe in a number of ways. From alerting you to an approaching car, to alerts and alarms that may go off around your home. Hearing loss can hinder your ability to observe these sounds, but hearing aids are shown to help improve an individual’s safety.
  • Cognitive health and well-being – Research continues to show that untreated hearing loss can accelerate cognitive decline. However, treating the hearing loss can delay the onset of cognitive issues. Early treatment is the best preventative measure!

There are many more benefits to getting your hearing loss treated. If you’re ready for a new year, new ears, we’d love to book you in for a hearing assessment. Call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

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