Cicadas are a type of insect that spends the majority of its lifetime underground. They make their return every 15 years and this year the cicadas have returned. This is because they’re ready to mate before they die. For this reason, they make a loud clicking sound that’s used to attract their mate and repel birds.
Cicadas are noisy insects but they’re also beneficial insects as well. This is because they help prune mature trees, aerate the soil, and once they die, their bodies act as an important source of nitrogen that trees need in order to help them grow. However, even though these insects are mostly harmless, they’re still annoying nevertheless. This is because their high-pitched buzzing sound is so loud. In fact, it can be loud enough to drown out the sound of a jet plane flying overhead. It’s also enough to possibly make hearing issues such as tinnitus worse.
One type of hearing loss known as tinnitus occurs when you have a ringing sound in your ears. There are various reasons why this may occur (e.g. damage to the inner ear’s nerve ending, thyroid problems, exposure to loud noises). In fact, over 45 million Americans struggle with this disorder.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that when you’re exposed to the sounds of cicada buzzing (approximately 100 decibels) for at least 15 minutes you may experience noise-related hearing loss. This is because you’re experiencing the same amount of noise like a motorcycle revving its engine or a jackhammer being used.
Anyone who already has challenges with their hearing needs to address the noise level that exposure to cicadas can cause. This is according to Rachel Hisim, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., who is an otolaryngology nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hisim says that while we can’t always remove the irritating sound from our environment we can remove ourselves from the sounds. Doing so will help decrease noise exposure and the possibility of worsening hearing loss.
Hisim recommends that when you’re outside during cicada season you should wear headphones or earplugs to protect your hearing. Your other option is to stay indoors during the time when cicadas are the noisiest (afternoon through dusk during hot, sunny weather).
For additional help dealing with this year’s onslaught of cicada’s or any other issues, you may have with hearing loss contact Countryside Hering Aids Services in Clearwater and Pinellas county.
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