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Avoid summer’s challenges related to hearing

Protect your ears this summer.

Hearing aids are an important investment in your well-being. If you wear them, keep these important tips in mind during the summer months or year-round if you live in a warm climate. When you apply sunscreen, watch out for your hearing aids. Their outer shell is plastic, so the chemicals in the cream or spray can affect them.

Mind your ears at festivals and music concerts

Are you heading to summer music festival or concert? Perhaps your loved one is? If it will be loud, be aware of the dangers of hearing damage. In outdoor settings where the atmosphere is more open than an indoor environment, people are often unaware of the dangers to their ears. This is important for everyone – not just those with hearing loss!

Rule of thumb: If you have to shout to make yourself heard, your ears are under strain. Consider wearing hearing protection such as earplugs, and take regular breaks from the loud environment.

Keep hearing equipment cool, and beware the dangers of heat

Excessive heat is harmful for hearing aids and their accessories, so it’s important to keep them cool. Avoid leaving them in your car for any length of time in warmer weather, and always keep them out of direct sunlight.

Flying on vacation

Sometimes when flying (or going under water), you may experience a sense of pressure in the ears and nose. When the air can flow relatively easily, the higher pressure air will quickly flow to the lower pressure air, and the pressure difference will disappear. However, sometimes a blockage prevents air from flowing freely in our ears. This can be painful – or very annoying. A number of things can cause a blockage, including earwax, inflammation or a cold.

Note than when flying with hearing aids, you may wear your devices, including through security and on the plane. So keep them switched on as you travel – they’ll help you hear any important announcements.

At the beach and by the pool

Few hearing aids can tolerate being submersed in water –even if they are water-resistant. So make sure to take them off before getting caught in the middle of a water fight. While you’re enjoying the water, store them in a safe place or in something waterproof.

Finally – remember to dry your hair before putting your hearing aids back on.

Proper cleaning techniques for hearing aids

Everyone perspires a little more in the heat. Unfortunately the combination of heat and moisture creates a perfect environment for fungal microbes to develop in your hearing aids.

To avoid mold, keep cleaning wipes handy to clean your devices, and keep them dry. If you live in a humid environment, you may need to change filters and domes often. If you find significant moisture building up, a hearing aid dryer could prove a smart investment.

To ensure good air circulation through your hearing aids, open the battery drawer at night to allow fresh air inside and to release moisture.

Remember extra accessories on vacation

You will enjoy summertime more if you can hear well, so bring everything you need for your hearing aids, including extra batteries, tubes and filters (depending on your type of hearing aid).

Worried about your current hearing aids – we’re here to help!

The professionals at Preferred Hearing Care are always happy to clean your hearing devices. If you are concerned about flying with hearing aids or have other questions, our professionals have answers to your questions. Please call (417) 450-4575 or contact us online if you are away.

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Be proactive with your hearing safety

Louder isn’t better!

It seems obvious – but it’s worth a reminder: the louder the noise and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of damage to your ears. Even some sounds that don’t seem loud or give you noticeable discomfort can damage your hearing. Loud sounds, of course, can cause damage much more quickly. Always remember that safety counts.

Measuring noise and understanding decibels (dB)

The decibel scale is matched to human hearing, so 0 dB is the very quietest sound that a human can hear without hearing loss. A “typical” spoken conversation is generally estimated to be 60 dB. Although this is not enough to hurt you, many every-day sounds are in the near-harmful range and can impact your hearing long term – so think safety first. A lawnmower, for example, averages in the 90 dB level, so it can cause damage. That’s why it is important to wear protection whether you are mowing the lawn or around loud engines. Even a car travelling at 65 miles per hour or a vacuum cleaner can irritate your ears.

Workplace challenges

Most experts – including the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health – agree that continued exposure to sounds over 85 dB risks damage to hearing. Therefore, workplace safety regulations usually require employers to provide protection for employees exposed to noisy environments. In the US, the Department of Labor regulates occupational noise exposure and has set a “permissible exposure limit” (PEL) of 90 dB for an 8 hour long day.

The biggest sources of dangerous noise

More dangerous – with immediate impact – are sounds in the 140 dB range. These include jet engines and gun shots. Even louder, is 180 dB of a rocket launch. These sounds can lead to permanent hearing damage. According to Purdue University, your eardrum can rupture if you are 25 meters or less from a jet as it is taking off.

Knowing the danger signs and preventing damage to your hearing

Unfortunately, it is rarely immediately obvious when we damage our hearing – normally we notice it afterwards. However, with awareness, we can help protect our hearing. If you have to shout over background noise to make yourself heard, you may be in the danger zone where prolonged exposure could lead to damage.

Heed your ears’ warning

If you notice ringing in your ears or experience pain, these are signs that your noise exposure is too high. This often appears after a noisy event such as a music concert. If you find it difficult to hear for several hours after exposure to loud sounds, or hear ringing in your ears or other unusual effects, then you probably have been around harmful levels.

Safety first: tips for protecting your hearing

  • Avoid loud noises. If you are attending a loud event, avoid sitting near the amplifiers or take breaks outside the main venue.
  • Invest in earplugs. Whether you want to spring for higher-end ear plugs that are moulded to your ears or use noise-cancelling headphones
  • Take sound breaks. If you are near loud noise, escape for a break every hour.
  • Lower the volume. Turn the sound down on your earphones or earbuds.

Earphones and hearing loss

Many people regularly use earphones or earbuds – on the way to school or work, while out running, or just while relaxing at home without considering the excess levels of noise exposure.
Earphones generally produce up to 100 dB, while some can produce even more. At this level, you risk damage to your hearing after a mere 15 minutes. Some smartphones have a feature that warns uses when the volume is at a dangerous level. Heed this warning and limit music at excessive volumes piped directly into your ears.

City life’s impact on your ears

According to a recent study, just living in an urban area can increase your risk of hearing damage – by 64%. Traffic, construction, loud music, sirens and other environmental sounds of the city provide continuous exposure to noise can cause hearing damage.
At Preferred Hearing Care we strive to educate and advise. If you want to learn if exposure to music, explosions or other noise has damaged your hearing, contact Preferred Hearing Care for a complimentary hearing assessment*.

Posted by Admin

How to Keep Your Ears Clean

What is earwax – and how can I safely clean it?

First of all, earwax is natural and necessary – our ears evolved that way for a reason. Earwax acts as a natural lubricant that protects the sensitive skin in the ear canal. It also creates a natural barrier that prevents dirt and foreign objects from reaching the eardrum.

What’s more, earwax is a key component of the ear’s self-cleaning mechanism. As skin inside the ear canal grows outwards, it carries earwax with it. During this process earwax captures dirt and dead skin, this all naturally exits the ear together with the wax. If you find it annoying, chewing and yawning also help to move the wax outwards along your ear canal.

Tips on cleaning ears safely

Remember—we need earwax as protection for the eardrum. So, you shouldn’t clean it too much. It just isn’t necessary. It is safe to wipe away visible excess earwax using a wet cloth. But do not use swabs to remove wax (or anything else) from your ears.

Do you know the saying, “don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear?” It’s true. You shouldn’t stick anything in your ear canal. While many people may think are safe to clean your ear, Q-tips™ or Cotton Buds™ are definitely a bad idea for wax removal! Why not?

  • They can scratch and inflame the sensitive skin inside the ear canal, leaving it open to infections.
  • They also can push debris farther in the ear canal, rather than drawing it outward.
  • Swabs are not suitable to remove anything from the ear.

If you think you have a blockage in your ear canal, have a foreign object in the ear or think you are experiencing excessive wax, consult a hearing care expert for specialist cleaning.

How should I clean my children’s ears?

The same way you clean your own ears: minimally and without sticking anything into the ear. Although some companies market cotton swabs for children’s use, or even designed not to go far into the ear canal, these are still abrasive, so we don’t recommend them. Our professionals recommend you use a wet cloth to wipe out earwax only from the outer part of the ear.

Can wax block your ears?

Ironically, yes. Often when people try to clean their ears by sticking things in them to clean them, they actually push the wax inwards and create a blockage. Pushing the wax too far in the canal can force it beyond where the skin grows outwards, so it gets stuck. Eventually, this wax can become compacted, leading to hearing loss.

Addressing excessive earwax

In general, our ears produce the appropriate amount of wax to stay clean. However, some people do experience excessive earwax. Over-cleaning can cause this, as the ear produces more wax that it needs in an effort to re-establish an appropriate amount. Sometimes, however, medical conditions can cause the ear to produce too much wax. If you feel you have too much wax, please come see us and we will assess them and help you clean them.

Earwax and hearing aids

Sometimes, hearing aids may contribute to the perception that people have too much earwax, as they sit in the ear canal and prevent it coming out naturally. Most hearing aids have wax filters for this purpose which need to be changed regularly.

Get a professional’s help

At Preferred Hearing Care we can teach you safe methods for handling earwax in the ear and on your hearing device. We serve people across the region. To schedule an appointment, call (417) 450-4575.

Posted by Admin

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