Couple unable to hear the cicadas

Make Sure You’re Hearing Your Best for This Historic Event

After well more than a decade of absence from the landscape, billions of periodical cicadas are emerging aboveground in April. These winged, red-eyed wonders know how to make an entrance, with their cacophony of buzzing and chirping noises that fill the air for weeks.

Are you ready for their arrival? The spectacle of these fascinating creatures always creates a buzz for entomologists, kids, and kids at heart of every age. It’s also a great opportunity to make sure you’re hearing your best. Read on to learn what makes this particular cicada cycle so historic, and how we can help you experience it to the fullest!


What Are Cicadas?

These intriguing animals, part of the Hemiptera order of bugs, are insects with an interesting life cycle that takes place largely underground for many years. As younger insects living below the soil surface, they feed on plant roots; grow and molt toward maturity; navigate the soil layers for food and habitat; and, potentially, go through dormant periods.

About every 13 or 17 years, depending on the brood, the periodical cicadas emerge en masse from the ground when soil temperature is about 64 degrees. They then molt into adults, mate, lay eggs to launch another generation of cicadas, and die — all in about four to six weeks. After hatching from the eggs, the new cicadas eat a bit of tree sap before heading underground.


What Makes the Cicadas’ 2024 Visit So Special?

Unlike most arrivals of cicada broods, this particular event will involve two specific groups — Brood XIX, which is on a 13-year schedule, and Brood XIII, which is on a 17-year cycle — that hadn’t surfaced simultaneously in over two centuries, per an online Time news report. It’s a phenomenon that will take 221 years to occur again.

Missouri and a slew of other Midwest and Southeast states will see the cicadas. Reportedly, only a small number of states, however, may get to experience both Brood XIX and Brood XIII. You can probably imagine the extra anticipation for Illinois and Indiana, which might be the only jurisdictions to experience the incredible twofer that occurs only once in a couple lifetimes.


How Can You Make the Most of the Cicada Visit?

A cicada’s unique sound is unforgettable. Male cicadas generate their signature chirping, clicking, or buzzing through vibrating membrane or tymbal within the sound organ. The mating calls help attract female cicadas and assert territory. They can vary in pitch, frequency, and rhythm and may even switch to more of a courtship song — rather than the initial call — once a mate is secured.

The arrival of cicadas can be a wondrous experience, but it also comes with considerations for your hearing health:

  • Hearing loss may make it difficult to catch some of the insects’ high-frequency trilling or lower-frequency hums. Starting with an evaluation, our expert providers can determine your hearing levels, rule out medical issues, and work with you on a better-hearing treatment plan. If you already wear hearing devices, we can check to ensure they’re programed for optimal listening.
  • Tinnitus — ringing, buzzing, or humming in the ears — can seem similar to cicada noises. The cicada sounds could potentially aggravate tinnitus symptoms, which for some can seem lightly bothersome and for others feel annoying or even debilitating. Tinnitus can be effectively managed, making it important to seek professional care.
  • Excess noise exposure can also be an issue with some of the loud sounds associated with cicadas. As the insects’ mating call can hit volumes beyond the 85-decibel danger threshold, it’s a good idea to consider custom hearing protection if cicadas have taken up temporary residence in trees or shrubs near you.

Whether you need hearing help, tinnitus relief, or protection for your ears, our knowledgeable team can help. We can work with you on a healthy-hearing plan that lets you enjoy the sounds of your world — at home, at work, at play, and in nature. Contact us for your personalized appointment at Hearing Care Partners, where we listen so you can hear!

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