Image of Farmers walking without hearing protectionSquealing pigs. Tractors. Combines. Grain dryers. Irrigation pumps.

Farming is full of potential hazards to your hearing. One study found that 78 percent of American farmers reported having hearing loss, significantly higher than rates found in other labor groups. Despite this rate, only four percent reported wearing hearing aids.

Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Prolonged exposure to sounds louder than 85 dB can damage your hearing, while exposure to noises above 120 dB can immediately damage your ears.

Here are some common farming sounds and their decibel levels:

Hearing Associates offers a number of sound amplification and accessory devices to assist with hearing.

Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) are products that amplify environmental sound in specific listening situations. They work similar to hearing aids in that they amplify sound and deliver the sound to the ear, but they are not intended as a treatment to hearing loss – as hearing aids are – because they don’t meet the FDA’s criteria of a medical device. 

Oticon

Image of iPhone and Oticon ConnectClipConnectClip: Transforming your Opn hearing aids into a wireless headset, ConnectClip allows you to make and receive hands-free phone calls from smartphones. It also lets you listen to music from your electronic devices and use the remote microphone function to better hear speakers from a distance.

Image of cartoon people, one not able to hear the other.What would you do if you suddenly couldn’t hear out of one ear?

For too many people, the answer is “nothing,” perhaps assuming the condition is due to earwax, sinus infection or allergies. 

Sudden onset hearing loss – also known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) – should be treated as a medical emergency. Hearing Associates reminds the public that quick action to receive treatment could save your hearing.

Approximately 1 in 5,000 adults experiences this strange and frightening condition each year. It manifests itself differently, sometimes being preceded by a popping sound. Other times, people just feel that their hearing is different in the morning.

Image of Stuart Tembath, owner of Hearing Associates, speaking at NIECE Project.Hearing Associates recently sponsored a series of talks given by hearing loss experts on a variety of hearing health care topics.

The talks – including a presentation by Stuart Trembath, Hearing Associates owner and president – were part of the 2018 North Iowa Educational-Cultural Exchange (NIECE) Project. The event was hosted by the Clear Lake Arts Center and featured talks on autism, hearing aids, hearing-assistive technologies and the management of chronic health care conditions.

The eight-day NIECE Project brought three audiology and three speech-language pathology graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus to Iowa for the cultural and educational event. Meant to offset the weeks of graduate school the students missed following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, the event gave the students an opportunity to visit Hearing Associates in Mason City, as well as the Mayo Clinic’s audiology, balance, and speech-language-pathology facilities.

Image of couples eating in restaurant. Getting out with friends and families to a favorite or new restaurant can be an enjoyable way to mark an occasion or simply rejoice in the fact you won’t be cooking that night.

However, for those of us with hearing loss, the pleasure of a night out can be spoiled by a disappointing listening experience that makes it difficult to enjoy the company of our loved ones. Hearing Associates would like to offer some recommendations on making it easier to hear in noisy restaurants.

Good Acoustics Are Key

You don’t have to strain as much to hear in dining spaces that feature at least some of these noise-reducing measures: curtains, carpeting, booths and tablecloths. Many establishments with modern-industrial features such as brick walls and concrete floors install acoustic panels on ceilings and walls. These help dampen the sounds from other diners and the kitchen, helping you pick up the voices you want to hear. Seek out these types of establishments.