Healthy hearing in the garden

Tidy up your garden and create a spring health checklist, with help from Value Hearing’s Christo Fourie.

Written by Christo Fourie, Clinical Audiologist at Value Hearing

It’s a complete engagement of the senses – the sight of new growth, the feel of freshly cut grass under your feet, the smell of new flowers in bloom, the taste of fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden and savouring the sounds of the new season.

If your hearing is not up to par however, you’ll be missing out on the sounds of small birds tweeting, of bees buzzing, of a sizzling barbecue… one of our clients complained to his wife that crows had chased away all the native birds from his garden. His wife told him that the birds were still there, only he couldn’t hear them!

That’s no surprise. A full-throated warble from a bird bursting into song is easily heard (sometimes when we’d rather not), but sweet little trills can be as soft as 15dB. If you have mild hearing loss, the quietest sound you will be able to hear is between 25-40dB, which is a whispered conversation or the sound of your computer fan humming.

Did you know that a colony of bees will buzz at around 50dB if it has a queen and rises to up to 80dB (which is as loud as an alarm clock) if there is no queen? The sound of buzzing bees is a delight to listen to and scientists have discovered that the sound serves another important purpose – plants actually listen out for it! Researchers from Tel-Aviv University recently discovered that plants produce sweeter nectar within minutes of 'hearing' the sound of buzzing bees. So, not only is the sound therapeutic for you, it’s going to help your gardens thrive. 

Spring is the perfect time to get your hands dirty and spruce up your garden, so we’ve listed our top tips to ensure you enjoy healthy hearing in the garden: 

1. If you’re using power tools, we recommend removing your hearing aids and use hearing protection to safeguard your ears.

2. Today’s devices are small and easy to lose! If they do get dropped in the garden, clean them thoroughly. Soil and dust can block the tiny microphones.

3. Wipe over the aid with a microfibre cloth and use the cleaning brush provided in your kit to remove debris around the microphone and receiver. Don’t forget that many hearing aids have two microphones. 

4. Use a drying or a dehumidifying kit after watering the garden because moisture and electronics most certainly do not mix! 

5. But if your hearing aids do get wet, don’t panic! Take your batteries out straight away and leave the battery doors open. Batteries are quick to corrode and that is the number one cause of damage to hearing aids. Use a cotton swab to ensure the contacts in the hearing aids are dry.

6. Do not put your hearing aids on a heater, in the microwave, in the oven or use a hairdryer on a heat setting, you could do irreparable damage to your hearing aids. Use the dehumidifier which you may have received with your hearing aids.

7. If you don’t have a dehumidifier or a desiccant, try the trusty trick of using bowl of uncooked rice in a resealable bowl. Place your hearing aids in there for 24 hours, then and test them.

Dos and don’ts when your hearing aids get wet:

Don’t panic 
Do act quickly
Don’t leave your batteries in
Do rinse your hearing aids in clean water if they were dropped in soapy or salty water
Don’t use heat
Do use a desiccant or your hearing aid’s dehumidifier/dryer unit to try your aids




Healthy Hearing In The Garden

Written by Christo Fourie, Clinical Audiologist at Value Hearing

Value Hearing is an independent, Australian-owned hearing specialist. Our qualified and registered clinicians expertly guide you to your best hearing solution. Value Hearing has clinics in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.