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Health and Lifestyle

Exercises for Your Hearing

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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.

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

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.

Posted by Admin

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

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