Image of families watching fireworks.Summer brings with it a lot of fun events, including concerts, sporting events and Fourth of July parties.

While a blast, these events can also pose a risk to our hearing – the prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear and potentially lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL can occur after just a brief exposure to loud sounds. The louder the sound, the quicker NIHL can set in.

Exposure to loud sounds can also result in tinnitus, a ringing or other noise in the ears. Tinnitus stemming from exposure to noise often occurs gradually, so you may not realize your ears are being damaged for quite some time.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can protect your hearing so that you can enjoy the fun of summer without doing irreparable damage.

Image of KIMT winner Aricka and Stu Trembath of Hearing Associates with her Oticon Hearing Aids.A high school valedictorian was the winner of a pair of hearing aids given in a contest conducted by Hearing Associates and KIMT to commemorate Better Hearing Month.

Aricka Oppman, 18, recently graduated at the top of her class. Her father, Travis, was among the 34 people who nominated her for the new hearing aids.

“I know there are many people out there that would benefit from a new pair of hearing aids,” Travis stated in his nomination. “I believe a new pair would benefit my daughter Aricka Oppman tremendously. She is 18 years old and about to graduate high school as the valedictorian of her class.”

Everyone who completed a survey to enter the giveaway earned a complimentary hearing evaluation.

Image of couple reading book, reducing risk of cognitive decline and brain atrophy. Brain atrophy is a normal part of the aging process.

Accelerated brain atrophy due to hearing loss is not normal. Fortunately, it can likely be minimized by addressing your hearing loss as you age.

Accelerated Loss of Brain Tissue

A study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging discovered that the loss of brain tissue appears to be accelerated in people with hearing loss. This finding is in addition to previous research showing a link between hearing loss and increased risks of dementia, falls, hospital visits and decreased physical and mental health.

Image of man and woman taking pictures on vacation.Hitting the road – or skies or rails – with hearing loss may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

A little planning and preparation can go a long way in making sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible so you can relax and enjoy your destination once you arrive. Here are some tips for traveling with a hearing impairment:

  • Book online: Book your trip online whenever possible. This will provide evidence in writing of your prices, dates, and reservations in case of problems.
  • Sign up for travel alerts: Get email and text confirmations and alerts so you won’t miss important announcements on cancellations or delays.

ear acheTinnitus is one of the most common hearing ailments, experienced by up to 50 million Americans.

Because May is Better Hearing Month, it is the perfect time to learn more about this symptom often referred to as “ringing in the ears” – even though it can also sound like buzzing, clicking or hissing. Tinnitus is not a disease, but rather a sign of an issue with the auditory system.