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Wed, 2nd March 2016
 

Millions of issues we take for granted, don't consider them, until something goes wrong. We don't realise the value of health until suddenly something goes wrong. Then, as many symptoms are self inflicted, kick ourselves for not taking the trouble to take precautions before. Normal hearing is our god given right. True? I've got news. As time goes by, hearing loss will take place on most. "Beg your pardon" will become part of your normal vocabulary.

TIPS

So, a few tips. Protect your ears from damage. Don't poke, fiddle or insert anything into the canal (bobby pins with women are notorious) it can cause damage. Sore ears should be checked quickly by the doctor. Recurring infections, glue ear, and some other infections (meningitis) can lead to deafness. Regular exposure to very loud noise is a disaster. Rock concerts and extra loud music head the list. Industrial noise may be damaging and can permanently reduce hearing acuity. These are all avoidable.

PROTECT EARS

In industry, hearing protection gear is readily available, but many stupidly refuse to use it. Repeated exposure to sudden loud noise (gun shot fire, a common sport) can be bad news. In older persons, hearing is often a part of the ageing process, usually gradual. This means the incessant "Beg your pardon" again, the telly being so loud it can blast everyone else out of the room, difficulty hearing on the telephone or those speaking softly. Clarity of hearing in crowds (restaurants) become impossible. It is then time to see your GP who will probably refer you to either an ENT specialist or audiologist. Hearing sensitivity is recorded on a screen.

HEARING AIDS

Current devices are highly sensitive, barely visible and can greatly enhance hearing. Often a tiny skin coloured device sits between the top of the ear and scalp, a fine almost invisible tube leading to the speaker in the ear canal. They are expensive, but many government grants make them either free or much cheaper. Batteries are an ongoing cost. Some older people find changing them a challenge, as they are so tiny. Sometimes the device drops off and searching around on the floor is a problem. They can get lost anywhere - down the inside of your clothing, into a pocket, on the car floor, on the ground. The family dog has a great liking for discovering one and munching it up - the most common single problem audiologist report. Summing up: Make every effort to preserve the delicate gear inside your ears. Avoid abuse, avoid loud noises. Seek early intervention if you have difficulties.

 
BONE DENSITY

Q: 

I have been advised to have a bone mineral density check every year, but am worried at all the radiation my body is being exposed to.

A: 

Relax. It is claimed the amount of radiation for this straightforward procedure is extremely small. Radiographers do not even wear lead aprons or hide behind x-ray proof screens. It is a very valuable test, often advised for persons over the age of 60 (often less). Weak bones, called osteoporosis, readily lead to fractures, even with simple falls.

 
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PANIC ATTACK

Q: 

I occasionally suffer from "panic attack". People who have never experienced it cannot understand the terror that takes over the body.

A: 

This is common, and one of the conditions called the phobias. Some panic following a slight "trigger", others are terrified at being shut in small rooms with no escape, traveling in planes, trains and tunnels, jammed in cars on busy highways, spiders, frogs or the dark. Cognitive behavioral therapy or relaxation therapy (hypnotherapy) can often assist and do not require medication. The family of drugs called the SSRI helps others. Often, by keeping busy, mentally and physically occupied, risks of recurrences are reduced.

 
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SLEEP APNOEA

Q: 

I have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea and given a face mask when in bed. It is terribly hard to get used to.

A: 

Sleep apnoea, slight waking often following a loud snore, causes temporary loss of blood and oxygen to the brain. This can lead to serious outcomes if untreated. Gold standard in now the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask which delivers a continual stream of air to the lungs and brain. It can take many months to become accustomed to it. Persist, for otherwise adverse outcomes are inevitable down the track, like blood pressure, heart disease or brain damage as starters.

 
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TIRED

Q: 

I always seem to be tired even though I do not seem to do much each day.

A: 

The whole world is tired, often from stress, boredom, overwork, under work or an underlying medical or psychological reason. Visit your GP. A blood work out and a few basic investigations will often give the answer. Intervention will frequently give a positive outcome. Anaemia (poor quality blood) heads the list, diabetes, thyroid under activity, hormonal imbalances, any kind of infection or poor diet are some of the thousands of causes. Majority can be discovered and fixed.

 
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ARTHRITIS

Q: 

I have arthritis of the hips and knees and find running impossible and even walking causes a deal of pain a couple of hours later.

A: 

Try cycling. This is non weight bearing and gently exercises the joints. Often swimming, or treading water (best in a mildly heated pool) is also fine, as water takes weight off joints. Borrow a bike from a friend. There are plenty around for thousands of houses contain stationary bikes that sit and collect dust. One must be motivated! Paracetamol is first line treatment. Long acting versions (Panadol-Osteo) - 2 tablets once or twice a day help. NSAIDS although popular carry risks.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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