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Hunters face a unique hearing dilemma: They must be able to hear the soft footfalls of approaching deer or other game, yet need ear protection when they fire a high-powered rifle or other high-decibel firearm.

The BAD News: When you lose hearing, it almost never comes back.
The GOOD News: Hearing loss due to noise exposure is the only type of permanent hearing loss that can be prevented.

When noise is too loud, it kills nerve endings in the inner ear, eventually permanently destroying hearing. There is no way to restore dead nerve endings.

What many hunters don’t realize about noise exposure is that the sound pressure level of many shotguns is such that it only takes that brief moment of the blast to sustain permanent nerve damage, so every year of that brief exposure has a compounding effect on the hearing nerve. Each year, with every shot, the damage increases.

Preventing hearing loss is always better than trying to aid it after damage has been done, but there are a lot of options available that can help. I do specialize in custom ear molds for electronic earplugs, such as Game Ear, which can make the gaming experience as rewarding as possible. These devices provide amplification to put a hunter in touch with the environment and game while protecting hearing.

Hearing protectors come in two forms: earplugs and earmuffs. You should wear hearing protection whenever you’re around loud noises, as when using power tools, noisy yard equipment, firearms or riding a motorcycle or snowmobile.

Earplugs 

  • Small inserts that fit into the outer ear canal. 
  • Must be sealed snugly so the entire circumference of the ear is blocked.
  • An improperly fitted, dirty or worn-out plug may not seal properly and can result in irritation of the ear canal, making custom-fit ear plugs the best option.

Earmuffs

  • Fit over the entire outer ear to form an air seal so the entire circumference of the ear canal is blocked.
  • Held in place by an adjustable band.
  • Will not seal around eyeglasses or long hair, and the adjustable headband tension must be sufficient to hold earmuffs firmly in place.
  • For longer-wearing periods, they can be cumbersome.

If you’d like to get in for a fitting before gun deer season, call my office today to schedule an appointment and FREE adult hearing screening.

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Hearing loss causes isolation by making you feel like you are not plugged into the world you’re your relationships. Maybe you have found you opt to stay home versus attending Grandson whispers in grandfather's earsocial engagements to avoid putting yourself in setting where you can’t hear well. During the holidays, this is particularly apparent, when family and friends get together in large groups to celebrate with each other. If you don’t want to miss out, there are some options available.

You may already begin thinking about bulky hearing aids of days past. Fear not! Today’s model of hearing aid can be so tiny, no one will even notice (except you, thanks to the clarity of sound.) More than that, fewer than one in five adults who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them. Are you one of them?

If so, you should know that hearing loss can negatively affect:

  • Relationships,
  • Job performance,
  • Mental health and function,
  • Social activity,
  • even safety.

Basically, untreated hearing loss severely affects the quality of a person’s life. If a hearing impaired person is involved in important conversations about medical care, insurance matters, or legal concerns, it can be very upsetting – or even dangerous – for them to lose the message simply because they have a difficult time hearing the conversation.

Consider this: according to a National Council on Aging survey, hearing impaired adults age 50 and older are more likely to report:

  • Sadness,
  • Depression,
  • Worry,
  • Anxiety,
  • Paranoia and less social activity than those who wear hearing aids.

A closer analysis of the survey concluded that hearing aid use was associated with a 36% reduction in depression among this age group.

Purchasing a hearing aid sometimes requires a significant financial investment, so it’s important to choose a hearing aid dispenser with your best interests in mind. A hearing aid specialist can provide a hearing test and help select the proper device, but most importantly, she will also be available to offer ongoing support and instruction.

Lori Fish, M.S.-A always offers free hearing screenings by appointment to adults 18 and over at Fort HealthCare’s Ear, Nose & Throat Clinics in Fort Atkinson, Whitewater and Edgerton.

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