Tag: holiday

April Is National Lawn and Garden Month

April Is National Lawn and Garden Month

April Is National Lawn and Garden Month

Celebrate by Protecting Your Hearing

Spring has sprung, and so has the annual cornucopia of sounds: birds singing, children laughing, neighbors chatting — and lawn equipment.


Your Loud Lawn

Maintaining your burgeoning plant life is a noisy affair. Once you’ve used the mower, leaf blower, chain saw, and string trimmer, your ears have put up with quite a racket.

In fact, around 40 million U.S. adults aged 20–69 years (about one in four) have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) — and more than half of those don’t have a noisy job. So how noisy is lawn care, exactly?


Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hearing happens when the hair cells in your inner ear convert sound signals to electrical signals, and these electrical signals get sent to your brain to be interpreted as sounds.

Every hair cell that gets damaged, then, means less hearing ability. NIHL is hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noise, which damages your hair cells.


How Loud Is Too Loud?

You might be thinking, “OK, but how loud can all my lawn gear actually be?”

Your hedge trimmer alone can damage your hearing after seven or eight minutes of unprotected exposure.

The key to navigating your loud lawn is decibels, the basic unit of sound intensity. Sounds below 85 decibels (dB) are safe for unprotected human ears. At 85 dB and above, you’re in the action zone: Take steps to protect your ears or risk hearing damage.


The Decibel Levels of Lawn Care

Let’s take a look at some common yard-care machines and the decibel outputs they inflict on your unprotected ears. For comparison, a typical indoor conversation is about 60 dB.

  • Push or riding lawn mower. At 90 dB, hearing damage can occur in 2.5 hours.
  • Edger/string trimmer. At 96 dB, hearing damage can occur in 38 minutes.
  • Leaf blower. At 99 dB, hearing damage can occur in 19 minutes.
  • Pressure washer. At 100 dB — just one more decibel than a leaf blower — hearing damage can occur in 15 minutes rather than 19 minutes.
  • Hedge trimmer. At 103 dB, hearing damage can occur in 7.5 minutes.
  • Chain saw. At a whopping 110 dB, hearing damage starts after 1.5 minutes.


Hearing Protection

With output like that, it’s no wonder NIHL is so common. But that prevalence hides an important fact: NIHL can be easily and inexpensively prevented with hearing protection.

Hearing protection is a proven, effective way to minimize the risk of hearing damage, and it doesn’t have to mean a muffled, plugged experience for the wearer. You can get earplugs for as little as a few dollars for 20 pairs at a pharmacy, but there are also over-the-counter options that allow conversation to come through but block loud noises. You can even buy custom-fit earplugs that match the contours of your ears for maximum comfort.

Lawn care doesn’t have to hurt your hearing — contact us to set up a hearing protection consultation!

Make the Most of this Christmas!

From our family to yours, have a Happy Holiday!
From our family to yours, have a Happy Holiday!

Advanced Hearing Care, your Hometown Hearing Experts, would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas 2012! The holidays are a time for creating special and magical memories with family and friends. They can also be frustrating for a person with hearing loss.  Here are some tips to help take away a lot of the frustration:

  1. Take turns opening presents.  Make a game out of it for the little ones who are anxious to dig into the goodies.  If there’s only one person to focus on, it makes it easier for a person with hearing loss to hear and understand what’s going on.  The background noise is minimized and there aren’t three or four focal points competing for attention.
  2. Have the person with hearing loss sit in a central location of the room in which you’re opening presents.  If you have hearing loss, make sure that you can see as well as hear each person.  Don’t sit on the floor or a low stool or ottoman because that will make it harder to see things above your plane of vision.
  3. Make sure that the rooms or areas where you will eat and open presents are well-lit.  People who have hearing loss, whether they wear hearing aids or not, tend to fill in SoundVoid gaps with visual contextual cues.  Good lighting makes it much easier to do this.
  4. If you have hearing loss, place yourself in a strategic location at the dinner table.  A great place is at either end of a rectangular table.  At a round table, sit closer to the people who tend to speak more softly.

With just a few tricks, the holidays can be a joyous and magical time for everyone, including family members who struggle with hearing loss.  For more tips on improving communcation, see our Communication Tips page.

For more information on hearing loss or to schedule a comprehensive hearing test, contact us today.  Don’t wait to hear what you’ve been missing!

Noisy Toys 2012

From the American Tinnitus Association — Hold that thought before you buy that noisy toy for your kids or grandkids this year.  The Sight and Hearing Association has released its list of the noisiest toys of 2012, and chances are that noise-maker you’re looking at could cause hearing loss. Of 20 toys tested this year,  12  sounded  off  above  100  decibels  (dB),  which  can  damage  hearing  in  less  than  15 minutes.

The noisiest toys of 2012 can cause permanent hearing loss within 15 minutes of exposure.

Walking through the toy aisle at various stores, SHA selects toys that appear to be too loud for consumers. Once brought back to their office, a hand-held sound level meter is used to measure the sound produced from the speaker and 10 inches from the speaker of the toy. This, year, Mattel’s Talking Figure Buzz Lightyear was the leader among a dozen toys that literally went from infinity and beyond when it came to producing sound, blasting out at 111 dB. According to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, exposure to decibel levels at a close distance would cause hearing damage almost immediately. Exposure to noise levels above 85 dB for no more than eight hours is the federal threshold for hearing protection. SHA reminds consumers that hearing loss is cumulative and it typically does not happen from one event; it gradually happens over time and that is why it is important to protect hearing at a young age.

Toys are required to meet the acoustic standard set by the American Society of Testing and Materials, which states that the sound-pressure level produced by toys shall not exceed 85 dB at 50 cm from the surface of the toy. “The problem with this standard is 50 cm is longer than the average arm length of an adult. We test toys based on how a child would play with them, not how an adult would play with them. If you watch a child playing with a noise-producing toy, you will see them hold it close to their ears or within their arms length, which is closer to 10 inches (25 cm)”, explains Kathy Webb, executive director of SHA.

Parents can do a few things to make it a little quieter this holiday season. SHA recommends testing the toy before you buy it. Webb says, “push buttons and rattle toys as you walk through the toy aisle and if a toy is too loud for you, it will be too loud for your child. Look for toys that have volume controls and if you must buy a noisy toy, or your child receives a noisy toy from a well-meaning family member, place clear packing tape over the speaker, it will reduce the sound level enough to make the toy ear-safe.” The University of Minnesota/Department of Otolaryngology confirmed in a study that was released in August 2012, that covering noise- producing toys with tape or glue will significantly reduce the noise level of a toy, making it safer for children.

Founded in 1939, Minnesota-based Sight & Hearing Association is dedicated to enabling lifetime learning by identifying preventable loss of vision and hearing. If consumers have a noisy toy to report, they can contact SHA at  reportatoy@sightandhearing.org.

Season’s Greetings!

From our family to yours, have a Happy Holiday!

In observance of Christmas and New Year’s Day, Advanced Hearing Care will be closed
Friday, December 23rd and Friday, December 30th.

We will return for normal office hours on
Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd.

May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!