Age Related Hearing Loss

Age related hearing loss or presbyacusis as it is known in medical circles affects the lives of over 35 million Americans. Many individuals, in particular, those over the age of 65 who experience hearing loss choose to simply ‘live with it’ though there are plenty of means to manage the condition so quality of life does not have to deteriorate.  Maintaining a high quality of life is the reason why healthcare providers make attempts to increase the awareness of hearing loss and offer a wide range of means to manage the condition.

The Causes Of Hearing Loss:

There are a few common causes for ‘hearing loss’ as a whole. The reasons and therefore the means to treat hearing loss vary. In the case of hearing loss of the age related type, causes are almost always natural and will likely affect each and every one of us to a certain degree. In some cases it will be more severe and noticeable, in others just an inconvenience.

Our ability to hear is aided by tiny hair like cells that reside within the inner ear. These are tasked with capturing waves of sound in a wide spectrum of frequencies. As we grow older (and wiser!) these hair cells can deteriorate, die or become damaged and the result is a diminished ability to capture certain frequencies.  Gradual loss of hearing due to aging starts from a person’s 40s, though often becomes more apparent in the over 65’s. The inner ear is unable to regrow these hair cells naturally and the result is hearing loss of various degrees.  The ‘degree’ (measured in decibels vs. normal hearing) will vary from one person to the next based on the amount of inner ear hair cells that are damaged, family history, other medical conditions and exposure to loud noise over the years (NIHS – Noise Induced Hearing Loss). Age related hearing loss is completely natural and ignoring it is both unfortunate and can directly impact your quality of life.

Signs Of Age Related Hearing Loss:

Any concern you may have with regards to your hearing (as well as other medical conditions) should always be addressed with your healthcare provider, most commonly a family doctor as a first point of call.

Age related hearing loss will usually affect both ears to a similar degree, however because the process is gradual it is sometimes tricky to notice the difference. Overall, it is most difficult to hear high-frequency sounds, such as someone talking (particularly small children and women’s voices). As hearing loss develops it may become difficult to hear sounds at lower pitches. Common symptoms include:

·    A growing difficulty to hear in a noisy environment
·    High-pitched sounds such as “s” or “th” are hard to distinguish from one another
·    Certain sounds seem overly loud

Managing Hearing Loss:

As with any medical condition, a medical diagnosis from a health provider should be carried out. In this case it will take the shape of a hearing test. The test will normally take the form of pure tone based test and may include a speech-in-noise check that uses different types of background noise.

A hearing test is available to book from your local hearing center and from your family doctor (in its basic form). Once the precise cause and level of hearing loss is determined you will be offered a number of options that work on the principal of managing the condition using modern digital means.

The most common are hearing aids, a group of microcomputers that fit inside or outside the wearer’s ear and are tasked with amplifying external sound. Another group comprise of daily devices that have been adopted for use by the hard of hearing. Examples include amplified phones as well as cell phones, amplified alarms and aids designed to amplify the sound of a TV unit. Good results often come from using a number of aids as each is slightly better suited for a particular situation.

Guest article by Hearing Direct. UK based company of hard of hearing products from hard of hearing phone to hearing aids. You can join Hearing Direct on Facebook.

Originally posted 2012-08-10 15:36:29.

Boomers Can Cope Returning to Work After a Serious Illness

Working Boomer looks at the situation where Baby Boomers deal with returning to work after a major illness or surgery.

Baby Boomer at workAs most of you know, today’s economy and health care insurance needs are not at their best.  Most people need a job and health care benefits.  Life can throw some curves for all of us and staying positive is sometimes difficult when we are faced with life and death situations. Putting food on the table and a roof over our heads has to be done.  You may have spent some time in a hospital or had major unexpected surgery which has caught you off guard.  The bank account may be low or empty.  You may have had to go on family leave with no income.  In addition you are facing pain and a complete life style change.  Then comes that day when you are due back at work.  You might be 62 years of age and concerned if you can still do the job that you know that you have to do.  Prior to a heart surgery or cancer you may have been an over achiever.  Some people are just that way.  You still may be weak and not quite back to your normal self, but the leave has ended.  It is time to do what you have to do.  Fear may set in for a while.  That is normal but you can only do the best that you can do. You are human.

Other words, you suit up and show up.  You put on the best smile possible.  You remain honest.  You ask for help if you need it, even though that is some thing that you are not use to doing.  You tell the truth.  You do the best that you can do without jeopardizing your health further.  If you are to reduce stress then take small breaks.  Let others talk if they must.  It is your life not theirs.  Eat healthy.  Take a walk at lunch time and get away from the chaos.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Use whatever resources that your work place has to offer you to get back on the proper track.  Eliminate worry.  It does no good.  Be easy on yourself and don’t expect others to be easy on you.  It is your life so treat it good.

Each day as you do this you will get stronger again.  Stay out of other people’s problems until you are able to deal with them, but show compassion.  Remember though, right now you are first.  Don’t expect to run a race with the person in the office that is twenty years younger than you.  Don’t expect special favoritism because of your condition.  You might get let down.  You are enough to give yourself love.

When it is time to end your work day, pat yourself on the back.  Say to yourself, I did the best that I could do; that is good enough for today.  Leave the work stress there when you leave.  Go home and enjoy your surroundings.  Pet the dog or cat.  Kiss the wife or husband if you have one.  Don’t feel guilty because you need extra rest.  Let things go that don’t have to be done immediately.  They will get done sooner or later.  Practice deep breathing.  Enjoy nature.  Love your sweet soft pillow and make use of a comfy bed.  Remember if you love yourself enough, this too shall pass.  There will be a day when you can relay this story to another human being that will go through the same thing.  Above all, be gentle with yourself. Learn to say no when it is necessary.

Live is full of unexpected curves.  It is full of unexpected events.  Say to your self each night prior to bedtime this one thing,  Self, I made it today and tomorrow I will try again.  I can and will do it.  I am the most important one to me today until my recovery is complete.  I will accept this one more boomer challenge in life just as many others are doing.  I am not alone.  Above all stay grateful!  You always can find something to be grateful for if you look hard enough.

Remember, it takes time for your body, mind, and spirit to heal after any major trauma or major surgery.  Listen to the body and be gentle.

Originally posted 2011-07-25 19:14:29.

Life Insurance and Health Issues

Life Insurance and Health Issues

Typically, life insurance is most often associated with the protection it offers financially upon the event of death. However, most people don’t take into account that health complications can occur randomly and at a moment’s notice at that. Did you know though, that some life insurance policies are equipped with certain options that facilitate this?

What Happens if a Health Issue Arises?

With some policies there is the option that allows the policy holder to obtain part or all of the death benefit in the event of certain ailments. This enables not only you, but your loved ones as well, to divert the full brunt of the financial woes associated with treatment.

In fact, the expedited payments can be used for a number of financial implications including:

1.) The overall care of yourself. In other words, the advance payment can be used to cover the costs of paying a professional or even a family member to tend to your needs and care.

2.) Tending to life events. Money from your policy can be used towards paying somebody (usually a family member) to assist you in attending certain events, regardless of distance.

3.) Home modifications. Last but certainly not least, the money can also be used to help you remain where you are. In other words, modifications made to the home to make it more accessible.

As with any “perks” or policy changes, restrictions do exist in most cases. Aside from restrictions, policy holders must also meet specific qualifications in order to receive the death benefit prematurely. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that you make sure your decision is the right one as it can have potentially-detrimental impact financially on your family, as well as yourself.

Can I Still Obtain Insurance After a Health Issue?

Encountering a health issue—minor or major—does not necessarily mean that you are uninsurable during or after the fact. Surprising yes, but most affordable health insurance companies, such as Health Net, are ready and willing to assist potential clients even if they suffer from major ailments such as cancer. However, because someone suffering from certain health issues presents more of a liability than say, a person with a clean bill of health, the insurance coverage will cost more.

While it may surprise some people, many insurance companies will provide life insurance to people who suffer from hypertension, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. Naturally, coverage will cost more than it would for a person without such conditions. The Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates has been underwriting life insurance policies for breast and prostate cancer survivors for more than 80 years so if this is a concern for you, they may be right for you.

Originally posted 2014-08-18 20:00:10.

Baby Boomers And Pain Management

As boomers age it is normal to have a certain amount of pain. There are those that suffer from acute pain or chronic pain. There are over 75 million people that suffer from pain due to diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Some boomers think the pain is imaginary, but it is not. There are boomers that suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, headaches and neurogenic pain to list but a few. Relationships are affected and job performances can be difficult. We boomers need to get the best that we can out of life therefore there are things that we can do. Above all, see a physician and follow his advice. There is hope.

As boomers age it is normal to have a certain amount of pain.  There are those that suffer from acute pain or chronic pain.  Messages are sent to our brains which says, “Ouch that hurts so stop.”  The brain sends the message to the body part as pain.  Unfortunately we can not always stop.  There are over 75 million people that suffer from pain due to diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.  Some boomers think the pain is imaginary, but it is not.  Stress is one of the main culprits of pain.  Inflammation causes pain.

There are boomers that suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, headaches and neurogenic pain to list but a few.  Relationships are affected and job performances can be difficult.  We boomers need to get the best that we can out of life therefore there are things that we can do.  Above all, see a physician and follow his advice.  There is hope.

Here are some things that you may want to try doing on your own to aid in the healing process of pain or to help you cope.

  1. Alleviate as much stress out of your life as possible.  Exercise each day.  Even a short walk will help.  Instead of watching a boring rerun on television take a short walk.  Stretch to loosen those stiff muscles and joints.  Maybe lift a few cans while cooking and count.  Bend over a few more times than necessary to tie your shoes.  Go back and forth toe then heal.  Give those calves a stretch.
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables.  Peaches, bananas and berries are very good for pain.  Actually fruit salad makes a delicious snack instead of potato chips.  Try keeping a container of raw vegetables in the refrigerator for quick access.  Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower,radishes, and even spinach leafs are good.  Olive oil and whole grain has been know to help pain.  Try those new whole grain crackers that are flavored with olive oil and garlic. Keep a container of whole grain pasta prepared and refrigerated.  There are many things that you can mix with pasta cold or hot.  Eat more oats.  Try to avoid sugar,milk and flour as much as possible.
  3. Try deep breathing and meditation.  Deep breathing can help clear the lungs.  Start slow and work up to longer periods.  The more you do, the better you will get.  Set aside time for this.  Try it while you are waiting on a friend to visit or bored on a rainy day.

Focus on the present and stay centered.  Again, the more that you practice this the easier it will become.  Think positive thoughts.  Let your mind go to pleasurable places.  The mind is very powerful.  It will try to play tricks on you.  Be patient and soon you will be in the drivers seat.  Let pain know that you are in charge not IT.

There are many places out there to get help such as pain management centers, physical therapy offices, physician’s practices, yoga and meditation classes, holistic medicines, and massage therapy.  Then there is the pain pill and patches.  No matter what we boomers choose we still must do the work.  Make a decision.  Discuss options with a health care person.  Put your best foot forward and do what you can.  After all, why not get the best that you can out of life by working to defeat pain or learning to deal with it.

Originally posted 2011-08-03 16:11:59.

Stress and Responsibilities

Baby boomers have responsibilities that can be hard to meet and sometimes that can result in stress. Here’s how to relieve stress overload.

The birds are singing. I woke up with their sound at 4:30a.m. to begin my day.  It is Thursday on the calendar but Monday for me. That is the day that I begin my work week.  I started reading baby boomer blogs on the computer as I drank my morning coffee.

Some people wrote about exercising and healthy eating.  Others wrote about how difficult it is to save money for retirement.  Then one person wrote a humorous blog about finding a vibrator as she dug in the garden to plant watermelon.  This gave me encouragement to write about stress overload. Continue reading “Stress and Responsibilities”

Boomers Tired All The Time? You May be Suffering from Sleep Apnea

Reports are coming in from all over the country that many baby boomers are now suffering from sleep apnea. Below we take a look at sleep apnea’s signs, symptoms, treatment methods, and causes.

sleep apneaThe baby boomer generation is over 75 million strong. They are active, successful, and live life to the fullest. But as they grow older their medical needs are increasing. Reports are coming in from all over the country that many baby boomers are now suffering from sleep apnea. Below we take a look at sleep apnea’s signs, symptoms, treatment methods, and causes.

The Greek word apnea literally means “without breath” and describes the loss of breath that someone who suffers from the disorder experiences. It is common for people to experience hundreds of apneas a night where the airways are blocked by the soft tissue in the throat collapsing or the brain failing to send the correct signals to the breathing muscles.

The most common form of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the throat relaxes and partially blocks the airway causing airway restriction leading to waking up and being out of breath.

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive tiredness and sleepiness during the day
  • Waking with a dry mouth and/or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Frequent awaking accompanied with feelings of being out of breath
  • Irritability and erratic mood swings
  • Inability to focus
  • Loss of memory
  • Depression

Sleep apnea is diagnosed using a variety of methods and information such as:

  • Family and Medical History

Healthcare providers will as a series of questions concerning family and personal medical history. They will also want to find out about sleeping patterns and associated symptoms caused by sleep apnea.

Many times people have to acquire the assistance of a family member, spouse, or friend because they are not aware of their behaviors while asleep. Some people keep a sleep diary for 48 hours to gather data that will assist the doctor.

  • Physical exam

The physician will typically examine the neck and throat for causes of blockages such as enlarged and swollen uvula. The uvula is located near the back of the throat and is a piece of soft tissue. Physicians also look at the soft palette which is located at the back of the throat on the roof of the mouth.

  • Sleep study

If a physician needs more information for a proper diagnosis and feels more information is needed they will refer the patient on to a sleep specialist for a sleep study. Sleep studies are typically performed at a sleep center, but may take place in the patient’s home. The most common sleep study test is the polysomnogram.

CPAP Treatment

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure and is a treatment device that is used for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea.  The device is a mask-type machine that fills the air passages with a continuous air stream that works to keep air passages open and clear while sleeping. Many baby boomers who suffer from sleep apnea have found relief using a sleep apnea machine.

Benefits of Using a CPAP

Users of CPAP machines have reported significant improvements in sleep apnea symptoms.  Some of those improvements include:
·    Better quality of life
·    Improved sleeping at night
·    Increased mood happiness
·    Better job performance
·    Enhanced sexual drive
·    Increased alertness when sitting or driving
·    Improved energy
·    More motivation
·    Elimination of snoring

CPAP Side Effects

As with most medical treatment side effects may occur.  Some of the most common side effects experienced by CPAP users include:
·    Dry nasal passages
·    Red marks around the nose
·    Sinus congestion
·    Eye dryness
·    Mouth dryness

If you are a baby boomer and you suspect you or your partner may be suffering from sleep apnea see your health care provider immediately.