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Hearing Loss

Hunting & Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

Posted by Admin |

Hearing Loss

Hunting & Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

Posted by Admin |

Hunting & Hearing Loss: What You Need To Know

Shooting and hunting are a popular pastime in the U.S.A, with over 13 million people engaging in the activity each year. For hunters, a keen sense of hearing is an important asset. Although silence is the name of the game in hunting, periodic and dangerous noise from gunshots can post a threat to your hearing. Let’s look at some of the key facts about hunting and hearing loss.

The Research

A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin aimed to look at the relationship between recreational firearm use and high-frequency hearing loss in older adults. Surveying 3,753 participants, the study showed that men aged 48 to 92 who hunted regularly were more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss. The risk of hearing loss increased by 7% for every 5 years a man had been hunting.

Perhaps the most alarming result, is that of the study participants, “38 percent of the target shooters and 95 percent of the hunters reported never wearing hearing protection while shooting in the past year.”

Hunting & Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is one of the most common forms of hearing loss. It is also preventable. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as a gunshot or explosion. It may also be caused by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) notes that “long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.” A single shot from a gun can range between 140-190 decibels, loud enough to cause immediate damage to your hearing. The shot doesn’t have to be fired right next to you, either. Gunshots that are up to 100 feet away can have an impact on your hearing, especially if exposure happens repeatedly and over a prolonged period.

Hunter’s with NIHL may notice that their hearing loss is asymmetrical, that is, worse in one ear than the other. This is the result of a phenomenon known as “acoustic shadow.” Right-handed shooters shoulder their gun on the right. The right ear is tucked into the shoulder, while the left ear is closer to the barrel of the gun. In this instance, the hearing loss would be more severe in the left ear, as the right falls within the head’s acoustic shadow.

Protecting Your Hearing While Hunting

Using appropriate ear protection when hunting is a must. But there are also other steps you can take to help reduce the risks to your hearing when hunting:

  1. Suppress The Noise – In Minnesota, firearms suppressors, also known as silencers, were legalized in 2015. A silencer will help to reduce the volume of a gunshot, and thereby the risk to your hearing. It’s worth noting that gun suppressors are not legal in every state, so do ensure you check your local state laws. Even with the use of a gun suppressor, we still recommend ear protection.
  2. Practice Quiet Time – Even if you are using hearing protection, prolonged exposure to firearms can damage your hearing. You can help to further reduce the risk of hearing loss by taking a timeout between rounds. If you can do so in a quiet area, even better. Give yourself 5 – 10 minutes to let your ears rest.
  3. Wear Protection – Even if you’re not shooting, if you’re out with a group or at the shooting range your ears can be exposed to dangerous volumes. Keep your hearing protection in at all times.

Can You Hunt If You Wear Hearing Aids?

Being a hearing aid wearer doesn’t immediately exclude you from hunting. It does, however, pose some challenges. Rapid, loud noises such as a gunshot can overload the microphone on your hearing aid, making them ineffective. And if your hearing aid includes a noise-cancelling feature, don’t immediately assume that it will protect your ears against gunfire. If you’re a hearing aid wearer but want to continue hunting, we recommend booking in an appointment with the team at Clear Wave Hearing Center. We’ll be happy to discuss the options that are available to you.

Hunting doesn’t have to result in a hearing loss. Protect your hearing with the tips above, and you’ll be able to enjoy many years of hunting. If you’d like to discuss any of the above information in further detail, why not schedule an appointment? Call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Can Cold Weather Affect Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus?

In Minnesota, we’re all familiar with long, cold winters. We’re pros at bundling up; warm sweaters, cosy scarves and hats are closest must-haves. But did you know that cold weather can affect your hearing? Cold temperatures can cause physical changes in your ear which can result in pain, tinnitus, dizziness, and sometimes hearing loss.

Cold Weather & Your Hearing

Exostosis of the ear canal is a condition involving abnormal bone growth in the ear canal. Also known as surfer’s ear, it is one of the more severe, yet preventable conditions that can be caused by repeatedly exposing the ears to extreme cold weather.

Surfer’s ear is the result of your body trying to protect your ears from cold water and wind. It often involves bone growing on top of an existing bone. It causes the bone surrounding your ear canal to thicken, which can impact your hearing. It increases risk of infection, and a common symptom of exostosis are frequent ear infections.

As the name would suggest, it’s a condition most common in surfer’s. It can, however, also develop if you do not appropriately protect your ears in the cold weather. Surfer’s ear is known to cause tinnitus, and can in some cases cause hearing loss. Preventative measures include keeping your ears warm with a long hat or ear warmers. If you plan on swimming, wear a cap or surf plugs.

Cold Weather & Tinnitus

In 2015, the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology published a research study that looked at links between seasons and Google searches for the phrase ‘Tinnitus.’ According to the study, “Our findings indicate that there are significant seasonal trends for Internet search queries for tinnitus, with a zenith in winter months.” Although more research into this needed, the results correlate to some of the more common things associated with winter that link to tinnitus:

  • Cold and flu – Congestion and sinus pressure, common symptoms of a cold or flu, can worsen the perception of tinnitus.
  • Reduced physical activity – Lower levels of physical activity can lead to higher blood pressure. High blood pressure and hypertension are both known to make tinnitus more noticeable. [https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156]
  • Depression and stress – The holiday season can be a stressful time for many of us. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects people most commonly in the winter, and can result in depression. Both stress and depression are known to have links to tinnitus

Cold Weather & Hearing Aids

Cold, damp weather can cause condensation inside hearing aids, which can lead to water damage. Hearing aid batteries can also be affected by the cold, so make sure to keep extra spare batteries during the colder months.

Here are some tips to protect your device from moisture:

  • Check the IP level of your device, consider purchasing a more water resistant one.
  • Remove the batteries overnight.
  • Wear a hearing aid sweatband whilst wrapped up.
  • Use a dry aid kit overnight.

We’ve still got a few cold months ahead of us. But don’t let that get you down! Follow the tips above to protect your hearing and your hearing aids during the winter. If you’d like to discuss any of the above information in further detail, why not schedule an appointment? Call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Ten signs of hearing loss you can’t afford to miss

If you had hearing loss, would you know it? Not necessarily. Hearing loss often starts subtly and symptoms can take decades to manifest themselves as it progresses slowly over time. The most common type of hearing loss, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), can shift so gradually that you may not realize how much you are missing. In fact, as hearing worsens, you may subconsciously adjust everyday activities and social interactions to cope with hearing difficulties. In time, you might not notice how gradually hearing loss has diminished your ability to live your life to its fullest. Luckily, you can do things to improve this situation and re-engage with loved ones.

Knowing the signs of hearing loss is key to success

There are many signs of hearing loss. It starts with everyday annoyances. Some are blatant, others are subtle. If you or a loved one are showing these signs, we encourage you to make an appointment for a complimentary hearing assessment.*

  1. “People are mumbling” – This could indicate hearing loss.

    You may notice that certain words are difficult to understand. People, especially women and children, may seem to be talking too softly or not enunciating their words. Chances are you find yourself saying, “What did you say?” all the time. If this sounds like you, you may be experiencing hearing loss.

  2. Are restaurants too loud?

    Restaurants are among the hardest places to navigate for people with untreated hearing loss. Background noises, such as clinking dishes, people speaking loudly at other tables and loud music all make it exceptionally challenging to follow a conversation.

  3. Social gatherings aren’t fun anymore

    People talking passionately, music, laughter and other competing sounds can make it harder to take part in get-togethers with family and friends. Perhaps you find yourself “sitting out” of the fun or heading home early. There is good news. You don’t have to. The professionals at Clear Wave Hearing Center can help you with ways to cope with hearing loss so you can enjoy the holidays with this simple guide to enjoying social events with hearing loss.

  4. Conversations take too much effort

    Are you exhausted at the end of the day, or a end of the meeting at work? The stress of straining to hear what others are saying can take its toll on your wellness.

  5. Telephone conversations are a struggle

    Telephone, and especially cell phone, transmission is not perfect. Most people can fill in the gaps. Hearing loss compounds the problem and you may struggle to take in the information. This may lead you to avoid phone calls and resort to texting.

  6. Hearing loss affects you and your loved ones

    Hearing loss can take an emotional toll on you and your loved ones. If one or more of these descriptions ring true to you, hearing loss may be the culprit.

  7. High volume is a sign of hearing loss

    Even if you think the volume is fine, if your family and friends complain that you turn up the volume too loud when you watch television or listen to music, you may be experiencing a well-known sign of hearing loss. Are you tired of the constant battle to enjoy TV with family or friends at a sound level that makes everyone happy? It might be worth it to check your hearing, if only to make your family happy.

  8. Are your ears ringing?

    Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is often the first sign of hearing loss. Tinnitus impacts people of all ages, and may be attributed to trauma, exposure to loud noise or illness. It might be a slight annoyance or make it difficult for you to concentrate, sleep, work and even maintain relationships. According to the American Tinnitus Association, 56% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.[i]

  9. You are out of balance – loss of balance is a sign of hearing loss

    Hearing loss may be a sign of an underlying condition that is also impairing your balance. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Universityii found that even a mild degree of hearing loss tripled the risk of an accidental fall.

  10. You are opting out of engaging with people

Is hearing loss putting you in solitary confinement? Have you noticed that you are embarrassed to meet new people? Perhaps you are afraid to join in because you may not understand what is being said. Perhaps you withdraw if it is easier to live without straining to hear people.

Other signs of hearing loss – You are not yourself

Have you felt depressed, distracted or unengaged? Hearing loss has been linked to dementia, depression and other brain-related ailments, including stroke.

Take the first step to better hearing

Perhaps you’ve avoided getting treatment because you are afraid of the stigma that some people associate with hearing aids. That’s old-school thinking. Besides, today’s hearing aids are minicomputers that subtly fit your ears – and your lifestyle.

To get started, we encourage you to come in for a professional hearing assessment. Book an appointment to speak with a professional about addressing your hearing loss.*

Posted by Admin

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Speech?

We often focus on how a hearing loss impacts our ability to hear what is said to us, or what is happening around us. Many are aware how common social isolation is in those who experience these difficulties. But what if your hearing loss is affecting your ability to speak with others?

Although affected speech is often seen in those who have had a hearing loss since childhood, it can also be an issue for adults with long term or severe hearing loss. This is especially noted when the hearing loss goes untreated.

Why Is Speech Affected?

As your hearing capability reduces, so do the frequencies at which you can hear sounds. When speaking and forming words, each verbal sound and letter is associated with a unique frequency range. When an individual with hearing loss loses the ability to hear the range, a couple of things happen. Initially, the letters, words and sounds that use or involve these frequencies become difficult to hear and harder to identify or understand.

If the hearing loss is left untreated, the brain begins to adjust to not being able to hear the sounds associated with these frequencies. This can impact how the brain interprets, and uses, speech. This relates to the close connection between the sounds that your ears hear, and how your brain subsequently interprets those same sounds.

So the letters and sounds you struggle to hear within words, you can begin to struggle to say.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Having both a hearing loss and a speech impairment can lead to withdrawal, depression, anxiety and problems concentrating. Luckily, there are a number of techniques that you can apply. The first step is to ensure you’re fitted for the appropriate hearing aids. Other things include:

  • Reducing background noise, eliminating any unnecessary distractions.
  • Using gestures, visual cues and speak clearly and deliberately. Communicate in the easiest way for you, i.e. pointing, writing, sign language etc.
  • Seek out support groups.
  • Utilize assistive technology.

It can be difficult to accept that a hearing loss is having an impact on your day to day life. If you’re concerned that your hearing may be impacting your speech, our hearing care experts can help. Early treatment and detection is the best way to reduce the impact of hearing loss on your life. Our team is friendly and patient-focused; call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

Posted by Admin

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