Health Plus: Protect your hearing before it's too late - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Protect your hearing before it's too late

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From your lawnmower to your ear buds, the things you use on a regular basis are impacting your hearing.

In Health Plus, a warning from a middle-aged eastern Iowan who needs hearing aids after years working on the farm.

Kent Reinking knew something wasn't right with his ears.

"My ears would ring because you have to have the radio on the tractor fender turned up so loud to hear it," he said.

The 51-year-old from Oelwein has spent years working around noisy equipment with no protection for his ears.

His ear, nose and throat doctor at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo says that's a mistake.

"What may have eventually become a mild hearing loss will be added to the hearing loss that you've caused with your noise exposure and all of a sudden you have very significant hearing loss and communication difficulties many years before they would naturally have occurred," said Dr. Rotenberg.

Dr. Rotenberg says the key is prevention.

"We see a tremendous number of younger people that are growing up using ear buds and ear phones and head phones for music and these are people that are gradually damaging their hearing irreversibly at a very, very young age. So the simplest to say and the hardest to do is to avoid excessive potentially damaging noise."

Thanks to hearing aids, Kent is now able to comfortably take part in things we take for granted--like being able to hear his loved ones around the dinner table.

"So that's the number one reason, I guess, that I got 'em. Safety is also an issue. I mean when somebody's trying to talk to you or tell you something on the farm and that portion of it you don't understand," said Kent.

Coming up next week in Health Plus, we'll talk with Kent's audiologist about why proper fit and adjustment are so important for hearing aid success.

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