Wyoming Otolaryngology Hearing Protection

If you don’t use hearing protection while hunting and shooting, you may lose the ability to hear other meaningful sounds in nature, as well as the sounds of family, friends, music and more. Noise from gunshots can cause long-term hearing damage and that damage accumulates over time, which is especially troublesome to younger shooters.

A gunshot ranges from 140 decibels to 190 decibels, which is enough to cause significant, immediate and permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NHL). Often times, hunters do not wear ear plugs while hunting because they do not want to miss the quiet sounds of twigs snapping, elk bugling or of their dog running in the cornfield. It’s important, however, to look at the whole picture of how hearing loss takes place and why hearing protection is so vital.

The finely-tuned and delicate auditory system is designed to enhance the very soft sounds in nature by enhancing/amplifying these sounds. When a loud impulse-acoustic sound enters the auditory system, it damages the part of the inner-ear called the ‘outer hair-cells.’ These fine-delicate sensory cells can ‘explode,’ become dislodged and absorbed by the inner-ear, causing permanent hearing loss, which is called Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). This cannot be repaired.

A number of factors play into hunting-related NIHL. Hunters may notice, for example, that their hearing loss is worse in one ear than in the other. That is due to a phenomenon called the ‘Acoustic-Shadow Effect.’ A right-handed shooter will shoulder the gun on their right side, protecting the right ear into the shoulder and having the left ear closer to the gun-barrel, which is the source of the damaging acoustical concussion. This results in a more severe hearing loss in the left ear.

Other factors come into play, such as barrel length, bullet speed, cartridge intensity and, possibly, the muzzle brake. Equipment notwithstanding, hearing protection while hunting is an absolute necessity but that doesn’t mean one needs to miss out on the important sounds, either.

Electronic Shooter’s Protection (ESP, Trademark and various other custom-made companies) are available to bring the necessary protection to the auditory system to slow down or prevent damage, but also to enhance the environmental sounds, allowing the wearer to hear important cue-sounds while hunting.

There is no doubt that part of the excitement within the hunting experience is spending time outdoors, hearing the sounds of nature, of hunting partners (including the happy sounds of the hard-working hunting dogs) and of friends. The benefits of Electronic Shooting Protection allow hunters to enjoy those sounds for years to come.

Brought to you by the Hearing Healthcare Experts at Wyoming Otolaryngology. Call 307-577-4240 for a consultation to decide the best ways to protect your hearing and be sure to mention this article for a free hearing screening.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Anyone can have a hearing loss. If you think you or someone you love does- you’re not alone. If you relate to any of the following four, it may be time to have your hearing evaluated.

Difficulty Following Conversation
If you have trouble following conversation when two or more people are talking or straining to understand conversation in noisy or quiet environments, this may be a sign that your hearing performance isn’t where it should be. This sometimes leads to embarrassing situations like inappropriate responses, repeatedly asking others what they said, or fearful of being called on at meetings or in school because comments or questions are hard to understand.

Listening to Television or Music at a High Volume
Is the television volume often louder than others prefer? Do family members ask for the music volume to be lowered? This may mean that you or someone else cannot understand what is being said or sung at appropriate levels.

Noises or “Ringing” in the Ear (called Tinnitus)
If you have ringing or buzzing in your ears, you are not alone; noises in the ears (tinnitus), is a common problem for more than 20 million in the U.S. alone. Although ringing or buzzing are the most common sounds heard, tinnitus is any sound you may hear that is not present in your external environment. Most of the time, it is due to hearing loss or loud noise exposure but this should be evaluated by medical personnel to rule out contributing health concerns.

Lack of Hearing Environmental Sounds
People with hearing loss often miss car turn signals, beeps on timers and microwave ovens, songbirds, etc. Those that don’t startle when loud sounds are present, show signs of slowing cognitive performance, or any family concerns should be evaluated by a reputable audiology and ENT team like Wyoming Otolaryngology.

Do any of the signs and symptoms listed above sound familiar to you or a loved one? If so, we’re here to help. With today’s tools and technology, we have solutions readily available to offer those with hearing concerns.

Ready to start the conversation? Contact Wyoming’s leading hearing health experts at Wyoming Otolaryngology to schedule a hearing test today: 307-577-4240.

Hearing Loss in the Workforce

According to the Hearing Loss Association, approximately 48 million Americans (20%) self-report some form of hearing difficulty. It is the third most common physical condition behind arthritis and heart disease affecting people of all ages. These are pretty important numbers since 60% of these individuals are in the active workforce. Many are postponing retirement and stay actively involved in business, mentoring, and education. Some of these hard-working individuals benefit with help from properly fitted hearing instruments, while others are just ‘getting by.’

But at what cost?

For those who live and work with untreated hearing loss, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) notes that household income is negatively impacted by an average of $12,000 a year. The use of hearing instruments may increase earning potential by as much as 50% (Better Hearing Institute) of the difference. In short, the cost is great and that is just financially speaking.

Here are some of the other benefits of addressing hearing issues:

 – Improve job performance
 – Gain sense of control
 – Enhance communication skills
 – Improve professional and interpersonal relationships
 – Improve overall quality of life

The professionals at Wyoming Otolaryngology are the leading hearing health experts offering full hearing evaluations, review of test results with you and preferably with a significant other, and discussion of solutions (appropriate medical or non- medical). They are leading in current technologies with limitless potential to connect to the workplace, interpersonal communication, software, and noise reduction that at times will outdo the person with normal hearing in difficult listening situations.

The good news is that there are effective ways to improve your quality of life, manage hearing loss at work, and increase earning potential. With state of the art technology and care provided by the professionals at Wyoming Otolaryngology, you and your loved ones will gain answers and solutions to hearing loss challenges, combined with a continual source of support.

Ready to start the conversation? Contact Wyoming Otolaryngology​ to schedule a hearing test today: 307-577-4240

Chere Fourie, AU.D, CCC-A, F-AAA

Wyoming Otolaryngology is pleased to welcome Chere Fourie to our team.

Chere earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and Deaf Studies in 2014 and her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology in 2018 from Towson University, Maryland.

She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.

She is Board Certified through the American Board of Audiology. Her special interests include adult and pediatric diagnostics, hearing instrument services, electrophysiologic testing, tinnitus, and sign language.

In her spare time, Chere enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and exploring new places in Wyoming.

5 Ways to Tackle Allergies This Season

Struggling with Allergies?

Life is hard enough without dealing with allergies. We’re here to help you tackle ​allergy season​ with these five tips.

1. Know what your symptoms mean.

Get frequent or long-lasting ​colds in the spring or fall​? Suffer from ​seasonal exhaustion​? This is likely due to allergies. ​Allergy testing​ can help sort this out so you get effective treatment and feel better.

2. Remove the triggers.

Many allergy sufferers try to manage their environment by ​removing triggers​ by vacuuming regularly, eliminating carpet where they can, and washing bedding regularly in hot water, as a few examples. These tips can help ​reduce allergen exposure​, but they are rarely adequate.

3. Be Aware of Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Many pollens can cross react with foods with similar proteins. A couple classic examples of

pollen-and-food pairs that exacerbate symptoms​ are ragweed and melon in the fall, or birch trees and apples in the spring. These cross reactivities can cause an ​itchy mouth or throat or tongue swelling when eating theses foods in the high season for these pollens. ​Educate yourself​ and avoid these pairings, or try cooking the offending food to help break down the proteins and improve tolerability.

4. Manage those medications.

Not all over-the-counter allergy medications are created equal. Some work well for ​sneezing and drainage​ but do very little for ​congestion​. Others can cause bothersome side effects. Some are more effective in combination. Work with the experts at Wyoming Otolaryngology to find an allergy treatment regimen that works best for you.

5. Hit allergies with your best shot.

Allergy immunotherapy is the most effective option for treating allergies. After being tested to find out what specifically you are allergic to, you may be put on an ​immunotherapy​ regimen​ that includes weekly shots or daily oral drops to ​build up tolerance​ to the offending allergen. The ​specialists at Wyoming Otolaryngology​ are expert in allergy testing and providing safe and effective allergy immunotherapy.

Ready to start the conversation when it comes to your seasonal allergies? ​
Contact us today​ ​at (307) 577-4240​.