March 18, 2023

Hearing protection is important to protect from hearing loss

Protecting Your Hearing and Ears From The Noise Of The World Around You

March 18, 2023

The average person may only come into contact with extremely loud noises on occasions. Such as a concert, listening to live music, an air or car show, or a day at a carnival.   Typically, the noises you deal with on a daily basis are not going to damage your hearing. However, if you are in a line of work in which you are constantly surrounded by loud noise, you may find yourself with hearing loss before retirement – unless you are protecting your hearing. Musicians, construction workers, hunters, machinists, pilots, airline workers, and any number of other professions are surrounded by loud noises daily. While these people cannot completely cover their ears, since they need to be aware of their surroundings and communicate easily. They can use hearing protection to reduce the risk of serious damage to their hearing.


The reason certain professions may cause a problem for your hearing relates to the number of decibels an ear can handle for an extended period of time. Average daily activities typically are around 60 decibels or less. The hearing mechanism can handle 85 decibels before it starts to have a problem. However, the problem not only relates to how loud the decibels are but also how often and long you are exposed to this level of noise. For instance, a person mowing their lawn once a month for 10 minutes would likely not have to wear any protective gear. Although it would be helpful to protect from the stress of noise. However, a landscaper, who is surrounded by the sounds of a lawnmower multiple times a day at 90 decibels, would require protective gear for his hearing.

In general, children have more sensitive hearing than adults. Therefore, when they are exposed to things such as an air show, a parade, a loud concert, or even fireworks, they are likely to be affected even more by the loud noises and require protection for their ears.


Many of us have seen and maybe even purchased noise-canceling headphones to wear to events or work. However, there are other options available that are custom-made and are less clunky, and provide easier movement overall.   These products can be made to fit your ear’s unique shape for a snug fit and easy mobility.   One style of mold is the musician molds that have filters. It can make it easier for individuals who work in a field where they need to speak with others and hear themselves, while still protecting their ears from the louder noises.  Another type of mold is a ‘hunters mold’.  This type of protection has an amplifier, amplifying soft sounds, but protects at the same time while plugging your ears and amplifying only when there is no loud noise.  It isn’t perfect and is mostly for normal hearing individuals as the amplifier is not powerful.  It does has a fast attack time so that it doesn’t amplify gunfire which is great for police officers and hunters who use a gun.

For those that require the actual physical protection of their ears, however, harder noise-canceling and/ or attention headphones may be the best option to protect. They may create a difficult time in communication,  but they will be protecting your hearing and your entire hearing mechanism.

To learn more about your options for protection for work or play, contact the experts at Hears to U and Hears Hearing & Hearables.

Protect your hearing so you can hear holiday sleigh bells jingling

Tis the Season… For Ear Plugs

March 18, 2023

The holiday season is wonderful! The sights, the smells, the
sounds… they turn your day joyful immediately. 

As with all good things, however, moderation is key. Your body’s functioning requires moderation.
Unfortunately, this can be in short supply over the holiday season. This only leads to a longer recovery period once the New Year begins, and the sights,
sounds, and smells all fall from the open space and back into storage for another year. However, we are not here to discuss diets or decorations. We are
here to discuss HEARING protection, specifically ear plugs, for this time of year.

Face The Reality

Take a look at the reality of the situation. This is likely the busiest time of year for most people and businesses. People run from event
to event and often make a spontaneous stop here or there. The noise of the crowds of people shopping and celebrating can be quite loud. Unlike planned events like concerts and sports events where people think of ear protection, the holidays don’t come to mind as being noisy. During the holidays, people
will run around in a frenzy and not think about anything related to their wellbeing– particularly not their hearing health.

How do I know this? Well, I am one of those people. This past weekend, we ran from holiday shopping to a “Santa filled event” to more shopping. After that, instead of relaxing, we went to see family and friends for dinner and out to a restaurant. In between all of the running around, I made sure my child was cared for, of course, but I never stopped to care for myself. By the time I stopped moving, my ears were ringing so loudly, I am surprised my family could not hear the ring.

The Results

This phenomenon is more common than one might believe. I thought I was done experiencing damage to my hearing. There was a time when I would purposely stand next to the speaker at a concert just to hear the band better (or so I thought). Gone are those DJing days, when I was the cause of the loud music and ringing ears. But, these days, I’m not a concertgoer or DJ. I am just a mom now. What harm could I possibly be doing to my hearing?

Every holiday event we go to, every school concert, every sporting event, every caroler on the street… all add up to cause the unstoppable ringing in my ears.

We may not think these events could possibly be that loud. But keep in mind that these events are occurring for hundreds – if not thousands – of people. The sounds of the event need to be heard over the roar of the deafening crowd. When you think about it that way, of course damage
is being done to my ears.

As a person, and more importantly, as a parent, I am learning new things each and every day. I am learning about simple things. For example, when your two-year-old wants mac and cheese for dinner, broccoli will not be a suitable substitute. I’m learning more about the complex parts of
parenthood as well, such as there is such a thing as too many ear infections and that something needs to be done when that occurs. I am also
learning that I am not 20 years old anymore.

My body, especially my ears, has taken all of the abuse it can handle. It is not hard to pack some earplugs in your purse, car, or pocket
for the “just in case” situation. We, moms, pack everything else… I even carry five different kinds of snacks in my purse just to take my little ones in the car. I am sure there is enough room for one more tiny yet essential item. If we keep neglecting our ears, we will have difficulty hearing our children’s or grandchildren’s laughter. That is not a sacrifice I am willing to make.

To learn more about earplugs and hearing protection and getting properly fitted, make an appointment with the experts at Kim Fishman, Audiology, Hears to U in Hopkins Minnesota 

by A guest blogger.  🙂 

Hearing Loss

Proactive Ways to Protect Your Hearing

March 18, 2023

Your hearing is precious, take care of it and protect your hearing

Caring for it is important, even when young, so it doesn’t catch up with you when you’re older. Parents,
grandparents, teachers… they all tell you to do this or do that and you may not want to listen, but with your hearing on the line, it is important you do. You might get older and wish you had.

But what can you do to prevent hearing loss in later years? There are several things you can do to protect your hearing, so let’s look at them now.

 Wear A Helmet

Getting a good knock on the head when playing sports can affect your hearing, whether right away or later down the line. Tinnitus, or ringing in the years, can happen immediately and fade away. However, this doesn’t mean damage wasn’t done. You might think wearing a helmet makes you look silly but having to ask people what they said over and over again as you get older will make you look even sillier.

Protect Your Hearing with Ear Protection

Ear protection is recommended in a variety of situations. Most gun ranges will require you to wear ear protection when using a firearm. Workers who operate heavy machinery should always use ear protection. When at home and using power tools, ear protection can help to minimize the damage done to your hearing. You wouldn’t think it, but even the use of a lawn mower regularly can cause hearing loss.

 Turn Down The Volume

This is the one that bears repeating. You probably have heard it dozens of times, or even hundreds if you don’t want to listen, but loud music damages your hearing. If you like wearing headphones turned up loud when you are young you will probably have to wear a hearing aid turned up loud
when you are older. Who wants that, right? Turn down the music and your ears will thank you.

There are many things you can do proactively to care for your hearing. While some hearing loss may not be avoidable, you can still protect your hearing when younger to minimize any damage. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun but be smart about it. Wear a helmet, wear ear protection, and
don’t turn up the music too loud. If you think you may have already damaged your hearing, or you want to make sure you haven’t, give Kim Fishman, Audiology a call and we can arrange a hearing test. Plus, we can give you tips on how to further care for your hearing; keeping your conversations clear and music crisp for a long time.

Hearing tests in Hopkins Minnesota and Twin Cities Area

Do You Hear What I Hear?

March 18, 2023

Remember being a kid in elementary school and playing “whisper down the lane?”

Usually, the final sentence was nowhere near the same as the original sentence spoken by the first player. It was not just a small distortion, it was usually a completely different concept. For instance, it would start out as something like, “Today is Monday, May 8th,” and end as “I like the color blue.” The idea with this game was that you were not allowed to ask the person to repeat the sentence after it was first whispered to you. The game always erupted in laughter, but it was a good exercise in how hearing is not always objective.

We All Hear Differently

There is a subjective element to hearing, much as there is a subjective element to light. That is not to say there is no science involved or even that these senses are completely subjective. However, senses are based mostly in science and slightly based in experience and perception. If a word is mentioned that is unfamiliar, we may not hear it on the first pass. If it is repeated and we do not have the opportunity to ask for clarification, it may be deleted from our understanding of what was spoken. None of this takes into account our actual scientific ability to hear. However, it does affect how we process what is heard and highlights our differences in hearing.

Beyond words, think about hearing sounds

People have different tastes in sounds, much as they do in flavors and sights. Some people enjoy classical music while others find it unsatisfying. Some people enjoy Hip Hop and rap while others prefer to listen to heavy metal and rock. Therefore, when listening to music, melodies are heard differently depending on your preferences. This is yet another example of how we all hear differently.

Now Add Science – How Can We Understand These Differences in Hearing?

While more likely than not, “whisper down the lane” is an exercise in subjective hearing, science may also play an important role in how we hear individually. We are not all born perfect (and most of us are not). Some people are born with hearing difficulties.  And many of us develop hearing difficulties as we age due to various reasons and factors. However, no matter how or when it happens, your ability to hear certain decibels is directly related to your ear health and is completely scientific. While you may subjectively hear or not hear something or a nuance in a sentence, hearing the sentence being spoken at all is usually a more objective concept. Being able to tell that words are being spoken or music is being played is directly related to the science of hearing. Therefore, it is important to maintain your ear health to eliminate any scientific issues that would affect your sense of sound.

To make sure your ear health is not stopping you from hearing the world around you, contact the experts at Kim Fishman, Audiology. Kim Fishman and her staff can help try and keep your hearing working as well as possible so that minimal distortion happens of the words, sounds, or messages filtering through your eardrum.

Time for a hearing test

Signs It’s Time to Have Your Hearing Tested

March 18, 2023

Hearing loss can come on gradually and these days it isn’t a problem reserved just for seniors. While it’s true hearing loss is one of the
top 3 most common ailments that are also treatable when it comes to older adults, young people are noticing hearing loss as well. Loud work environments,
music, hereditary components, and even trauma from sports or auto accidents are contributing to the hearing loss epidemic. No one wants to hear they need to
have their hearing tested, no matter their age. But if it can help you get the most out of life, why wouldn’t you? When do you know it’s time? Other than the obvious signs like when others tell you should, answering the following five questions will help you to figure it out for yourself.


If you are constantly asking the other members of your conversations to repeat what they are saying, you are probably having a hard time hearing. Not only is this a nuisance for you, but it can be a bother to those you are speaking with. Cut the hassle and test your hearing.


One sign you need to head over to Kim Fishman, Audiology to have your hearing tested is having trouble picking up specific sounds when there are background noises present. Having a hard time hearing a conversation at your own table while at a crowded restaurant? Your dinner guests will be
grateful for your hearing test.


One of the biggest reasons family and friends will suggest you get your hearing tested will be when you start cranking the volume on the TV or other devices. This is one of the most obvious signs it is becoming difficult for you to hear and you may not realize it yourself. If they notice it and say something to you, you might want to take their advice. They’ll thank you for it, and you might thank them as well when you can hear better.


Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be one of the most telltale signs of hearing loss. This isn’t necessarily in just older adults, either. Even in children who have listened to music too loud or received trauma to the head can experience tinnitus. If your kid complains of ringing in the ears that won’t go away, it’s time to have their hearing checked for permanent hearing loss.


Talking on a phone, whether a landline or a cell, can be difficult for those with hearing loss. If you are avoiding phone conversations
as they are more difficult for you, not only are you missing out on important social events by withdrawing, you may be avoiding the fact you need to get your
hearing tested. Denial is no one’s friend, especially when it comes to your hearing.

There’s no point in living with hearing loss if you don’t have to. If you are experiencing any of the above, a hearing test and treatment
can help you get the most out of life. Don’t live in denial, just dial! We would love to schedule you an appointment for your hearing test. 

Does your mom have a hearing loss

Does Your Mom Need a Hearing Aid

March 18, 2023

Your mom is getting older. Perhaps she doesn’t always remember what you tell her, doesn’t seem to pay attention to what’s being said or gets confused on details. It would be easy to assume that these are symptoms of dementia and memory loss, and they could be. But they can also be symptoms of a much more correctible problem – hearing loss.


It is a well-documented fact that men are more prone to hearing loss than women. Symptoms of hearing loss in men are also likely to start earlier in life than in women. Hearing loss in women tends be more gradual, where hearing decline in men is often at a more pronounced rate.

Another difference between men and women in the area of hearing loss is the sound frequencies that are affected. Men tend to lose hearing in the higher frequency range, while women are more likely to lose hearing in lower frequencies. These differences between how hearing loss presents itself in women can sometimes cause hearing loss in women to be overlooked or go undiagnosed.


As you spend time with your mom on Mother’s Day, you may want to watch for signs of hearing loss. Here are a few examples of what to look for:

  1. Not responding to conversations directed at her when her back is turned to the speaker.
  2. Asking restaurant servers to repeat things.
  3. Misunderstandings when asked questions. Example: Answering, yes, when asked if she would like soup or salad.
  4. Not noticing sirens when driving.
  5. Difficulty in understanding verbal directions.
  6. Moving the phone from one ear to the other to hear clearer.
  7. Repeatedly turning her head in one direction (left or right) when people are speaking to her.


As stated above, women are less likely to experience hearing loss than men, but it does happen. The good news is that women are generally more willing to admit they have a hearing problem and to seek a solution than their male counterparts. With hearing aids available in small, less visible options today, a woman can wear a hearing aid without it being noticed by most people.

If you notice signs that Mom may be experiencing some hearing loss, take the initiative and suggest a hearing test. Greater clarity of sound adds so much value to life. It can be a good way to show her how much you care. Contact Kim Fishman, Audiology at 952-767-0672 to schedule a hearing test today!

A story of hearing loss by Will

Miracle on Ear Doctor Street by Will

March 18, 2023

After my worst fear, that of going blind (a fate I’m not sure I could endure), my second-worst fear has been that of going deaf. 

After decades of farming, loud engines, shooting guns and riveting bombers during and after the war, my father lost most of his hearing. Wearing ear protectors was virtually unheard of back in that time.  It was embarrassing, demoralizing, and caused him to miss most of the things going on around him. It was socially isolating in a major way, almost worse in some ways than blindness. Going shopping became an ordeal. He missed greetings, friendly questions, TV and movies, singing in church, deep discussions, phone
conversations, and the sounds of nature. We were all embarrassed as well, having a family member who couldn’t engage in conversation. Hearing aids helped a little bit, but the damage was too permanent, besides, he only bought bad ones that made a buzzing sound that you could hear from across the room, plus they looked really bad. Jokingly, I always thought losing his hearing might be the only way he could gracefully tune out my mother’s nagging voice. Nevertheless, it was a cruel fate for him.


Which, over the past 6-12 months, was what has been happening to me. 

In addition to the decades of excessive sonic barrage I’ve exposed myself to, numerous rock concerts, front row at First Avenue, powerful
stereos, guns, tractors, private aircraft, motorcycles, loud cars, chain saws unmuffled lawnmowers, thousands of firecrackers (cherry bombs and M-80’s were legal in Kansas and all boys love them), I have recently been losing hearing in my right ear. It had gotten to the point where 98-99% of my hearing there was gone. Almost every day, I’d say to Rebekah “quit mumbling!” or “what’s wrong with your voice?”. Even worse, when asked questions from the audience after or during a lecture, I’d have to walk to where the person was sitting and have them shout the question to me again. That’s bad. Most people were incredibly polite, but I know that was a stretch.


So, I finally copped to the notion that it was time to go in. 

[My friend] had given me the name of his audiologist, Kim Fishman in St Louis Park, and although it took me several weeks to build up the courage to go, I made the appointment last week. Mostly I was afraid that I was going to get horribly bad news, like “permanent loss”, “it’s too far gone”, “brain cancer…”.  After filling out the forms and some small talk, Kim began with a pre-exam. Using the otoscope as a prelude to the actual hearing test she peered into both ears. Immediately, she said “well, I see the problem…”  Wait? What? Within 20 seconds or so, she extracted a thimble-sized dark mass of something from my right ear! (no, it wasn’t a tick that had crawled into my ear at night or some African insect).  


She said, that’s your problem right there. 

I wondered, how could that be, I’ve used every type of wax solvent on the market with zero success?! As miraculous as that was, I still couldn’t hear very well yet, so she went back in. Apparently some of the mass was adhered to my ear drum which caused knee-jerk pain that made me shout out. She said that the very point of pain was as far as she can go, so she gave me an ear syringe and told me to go home and rinse my ear with hot water until the rest comes out. Which I did, and which almost immediately returned approximately 100% of my hearing, just like
that. The “miracle” part of the story!


Turns out I had misdiagnosed myself, being sure I had “water on the ear” (swimmer’s ear). 

I had even begun using a hair dryer to try to dry things out, as much heat as I could stand, only turning what was in my ear into rock. Then I remembered the actual and original source of my problem! About 6-12 months ago, I had been using a q-tip vigorously because that same
ear had gotten super itchy, so itchy that I was almost ready to use a Black & Decker to drill into my head (exaggerating here). That repeated reaming and over-vigorous swabbing I had done had not only increased the itching (!!), but worse, had opened up some capillaries which then turned into a blood clot which, along with normal ear wax, had begun the process of totally blocking my ear. 

I’m going back next week for the real audiological test

(she said she can’t do it unless she can literally see the ear drums) so I’ll probably find the ranges of high notes that I can no longer hear, but at least I feel freed up and alive again. The constant blockage was like a weight, a burden on my thinking and doing. I can now ever feel the breeze and wind blowing against that ear, which helps somehow with balance and a sense of motion. 


All this return to the beauty of sound merely with one simple treatment. 

So, my plan from now on, (perhaps the Moral of the story) is to avoid the q-tips, and just use nothing but hot water blasted into the ears
(gently) with an ear syringe. And so, in gratitude, life goes on, one little hurdle at a time… 


Will W. 


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