Three Myths About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions in the world. Yet there are a number of mis-perceptions about hearing loss which lead many to let it go untreated.

The Better Hearing Institute found that only 4 in 10 people with moderate-to-severe hearing loss use hearing aids. Many waited nearly seven years after they initially learned about their hearing loss to obtain a hearing aid, and that was after they’d lost so much hearing that their quality of life was affected. Hearing loss can create social and emotional barriers for the individuals living with it, or the families of those it affects. Research shows that when left untreated, hearing loss can lead to reduced earning power, disruptions in family life and can cause a wide range of other psychological problems.

According to a survey conducted by Hear the World, a global initiative by leading hearing system manufacturer Phonak, frustration (46.8 percent), isolation (45.3 percent), and fear (36.8 percent) were the feelings most often associated with untreated hearing loss.

“What I see in my practice is that the unnecessary fear and frustration associated with hearing loss and hearing aids is often accompanied by a lack of information about ways to prevent or solutions available to treat the condition,” said Dr. Kasper. “This is unfortunate given that hearing loss is a condition that can be treated with great benefit for the individual, as well as for society.”

Myth: Hearing loss only affects the elderly
Fact: Only 35 percent of people with hearing loss are over age 64. In fact, it affects all age groups.

  • The number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to more than 34 million-roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population.
  • In the United States, more than one million school-aged children have hearing problems.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 26 million Americans have high-frequency hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to loud noise at work or in leisure activities.

Activities that put people at risk for noise-induced hearing loss include target shooting, hunting, snowmobile riding, woodworking and other hobbies, playing in a band and attending rock concerts. Harmful noises at home may come from lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and shop tools.

Myth: If I have a hearing loss, my doctor would have told me.
Fact: According to the Better Hearing Institute, only 15 percent of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during a physical. And without special training, it may be difficult for your doctor to realize the extent of your hearing problem.

Do you:

  • Have trouble hearing over the telephone?
  • Often ask people to repeat what they are saying?
  • Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking?
  • Think that others seem to mumble?
  • Have a problem hearing because of background noise?
  • Have trouble understanding when women and children speak to you?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, visit a hearing healthcare professional and get properly tested.

Myth: Hearing aids are big and uncomfortable.
Fact: Hearing aid design and technology has developed significantly in recent years.

“Hearing loss and the solutions available to treat it have long been misunderstood,” said Dr. Craig Kasper, chief audiology officer of Audio Help Associates of Manhattan. “Hearing aids have come a long way and it is important to the well-being of those with hearing loss that these mis-perceptions be addressed. In fact, recent technology advances have made it possible for those who need a hearing aid to wear their devices with ease and confidence.”

Today’s hearing aids work with digital technology and are equipped with powerful computer chips, ensuring better sound quality, wireless connectivity, modern design and ever smaller dimensions to help users wear their hearing aids with minimal detection.

Good hearing plays a crucial part in quality of life. Don’t let myths about hearing loss keep you from enjoying what life has to offer. Get anonline hearing test and then locate a hearing health professional in your area.

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Craft Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

(Family Features) – Handmade holiday items bring a unique and personal touch to the season, making the giver and receiver feel special. This year, millions of families will be spending more time together creating low or no-cost crafts such as gifts, cards and decorations. In fact, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) estimates that in almost 43 million U.S. households will create handcrafted holiday gifts and decorations this year.

“Crafting provides an opportunity to spend time with friends and family while creating unique, one-of-a-kind gifts that don’t need to cost a lot of money,” said CHA President and CEO Steve Berger.

To inspire you, here’s an idea to get you crafting this holiday season.

Swirl Place Setting

Courtesy of

Aleene’s Fabric Fusion
Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Tulip 3D Fashion Paint
65088 Gold Glitter
65408 Gold Metallics
Red placemats and napkins
Gold fabric – 1/4 yard
Cardstock paper
Buttons – gold (4)
Bulky yarn – red
Eyelash yarn – red
1-inch low tack masking tape
Scratch paper
Paper towels


  1. Use tape to mask off around edge of placemats and across one corner of napkin. Start the flow of the Gold Metallic paint on a paper towel using an even pressure on the bottle. Squeeze thin lines of gold in assorted sizes of swirls on placemat. Immediately and carefully place scratch paper over paint then lightly rub over paper. Remove paper and tape. Let dry. Continue with remainder of placemats and napkins.
  2. Add a Gold Metallic line around edge of pattern and across the diagonal on the napkin. Let dry.
  3. Squeeze a thin line of Gold Glitter to all swirls and let dry.
  4. Squeeze a thin line of Fabric Fusion next to edge on the top of placemat. Press bulky yarn into glue. When dry, flip placemats over, apply a bead of glue to edge then press in eyelash yarn, twisting yarn so fibers show around edge. Let dry.

Napkin Rings

  1. Measure and cut a strip of cardstock 2 x 7 inches. Apply Fast Grab to one end of strip, overlap and hold with tape until dry. Continue with desired amount of napkin rings.
  2. Cut strips of gold fabric 4 x 7 1/2 inches. Apply a thin even coating of Fast Grab to the ring; press on fabric then smooth with fingers. Apply glue to the fabric edges then fold to the inside and press to secure. Let dry.
  3. Cut a 12-inch piece of both yarns then wrap together. Tie around napkin ring and knot on top. Add a dot of glue to the back of the knot to hold in place. Trim ends.
  4. Cut the shank from the back of button; add glue and press in place over the knot.

For votive and place card instructions, visit

Family Holiday Wreath

Courtesy of


Words of inspiration (K&Co.)
Rub-ons (K&Co.)
Favorite photos or seasonal stock photographs from
Heavy cardboard
Metal saying
Wire cutter
Glue gun

  1. Attach metal saying with wire to center of wreath.
  2. Print or download photos. The ones in this craft were printed in sepia.
  3. Adhere photos to heavy cardboard to fit the size of photo.
  4. Add rub-ons to photos.
  5. Glue words to wreath.

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Safe Winter Driving

Winter weather poses unique challenges for drivers. Before heading out onto snowy or icy streets, take a few minutes to refresh your memory on how to drive safely in wintery conditions.

Before Leaving

  • Make sure the gas tank is at least half full and the windshield washer fluid reservoir is full.
  • Clear as much snow off of the car as you can, including the roof, headlamps and taillights. Scrape ice off of windows and side mirrors for maximum visibility.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • If you are going to drive a long distance, find out what kind of weather to expect. Visit the National Weather Service website at to check the forecast.

On the Road

  • Slow down. Tires lose their grip in slippery conditions, so accelerating, stopping and turning all take longer on snow-covered roads. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • AAA recommends that the normal following distance of three to four seconds be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Accelerating slowly reduces wheel spin. If you’re starting from a standstill on ice or slick snow, start in second gear if you have a manual transmission. Some automatic transmissions have a winter mode that automatically starts in a higher gear.
  • Don’t lock the wheels when braking. This can make the vehicle slide or skid. If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), depress the brake pedal firmly and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes. ABS usually send a vibration through the brake pedal – if you feel this, don’t let up, it’s normal.
  • Do one thing at a time. Consumer Reports says that asking a vehicle to do two things at once – such as braking and turning, or accelerating and turning – can reduce your control. When taking a turn, slowly apply brakes while the vehicle is going straight. When it’s at the right speed to take the turn, let up on the brakes and smoothly turn the steering wheel. After you’re through the turn, slowly depress the accelerator to regain speed.
  • Correct for a slide. If the rear of the vehicle begins to slide during a turn, gently let up on the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide to straighten out. If the front end begins to slide, let up on the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go.
  • Pay extra attention to other drivers – they may not be driving as cautiously as you.

For more safe winter driving tips, visit, or the Federal Citizen Information Center at

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Your Family Can Help Change The World While On Vacation

OK, we realize you’re going to want to take a vacation for more than 15 minutes (even with that pesky recession on!). But making the decision to take the family on a trip that involves helping others or respecting the environment instead of lounging at the beach can be made relatively quickly. There are a number of Eco tours and activist travel or work exchange programs that might even cost you less than that trip to Disneyworld and leave you or your family feeling more fulfilled upon your return home. – Listing thousands of options for a more sustainable vacation respecting the environments and local inhabitants, Responsible Travel is searchable by budget level, region, country, and even type of holiday and activities you’d like to do. Travelers are encouraged to review the tours they take, so you can also see others’ feedback on the trips you might be interested in.

Ecotour Directory – This site currently lists 95 different eco holiday and responsible travel options, searchable by continent.

TrekAmerica – TrekAmerica hosts tour programs focusing on appreciating and respecting the natural environment throughout North America. You get the opportunity to experience some unique environments while simultaneously having a positive impact on the land.

Volunteer Vacations – Instead of taking ad nauseum “I was here” photos in front of tourist traps on your next vacation, you could use your next trip to volunteer abroad. This site offers a number of 1-4 week vacation options from helping at children’s clinics to preserving wilderness trails to teaching math to kids in developing countries.

Global Volunteers – A clearinghouse of volunteer international service programs, Global Volunteers typically requires you front your own travel costs. They do however offer assistance qualifying for discounts or fundraising the cost of your service program fee.

Do you have other great world-changing ideas that don’t necessarily require an enormous time commitment? Let us know in the comments!

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Staying Healthy Over 50

Life expectancy has grown dramatically over the last century, but not all those living longer are living well. But it’s never too late to make behavior changes and get preventive screenings to help you live a better and longer life.

* Be tobacco free. To talk to someone about how, call the National Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW.
* Get active. Start small and work up to 30 minutes or more of moderate activity several days a week. Talk to your doctor first.
* Eat healthy. Lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat free or low fat milk products are best.
* Get immunized. The right immunizations can prevent not only the flu and pneumonia, but whooping cough and shingles as well.
Screening tests help check for problems before symptoms are apparent. Health experts recommend the following screenings for anyone over age 50:

* Colorectal Cancer
* Depression
* High Blood Pressure
* High Cholesterol

Women over age 50 should have the following screenings as well:
* Breast Cancer
* Cervical Cancer

Check with your doctor about what screenings you should have. Targeted screenings based on age, gender, underlying health condition or family history can make all the difference for a healthy life.

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The Importance of Senior Fitness

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise and physical activity are some of the best things older adults can do to stay healthy. Even moderate exercise can improve the health of those who are frail or who have age-related diseases.

Some seniors are concerned that physical activity or exercise may be too strenuous or may do them more harm than good. In fact, it’s an inactive lifestyle that proves to do more harm than exercise does.

Without physical activity, older people tend to grow weaker in four areas important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. The NIH maintains that:

  • Increasing strength and endurance make it easier to climb stairs and carry groceries.
  • Improving balance helps prevent falls.
  • Being more flexible may speed recovery from injuries.

Exercising regularly can also have a positive impact on the immune system, blood pressure, cardiovascular system and it can decrease the risk of heart disease and help with depression or anxiety.

The American Senior Fitness Association has some recommendations for those wanting to start a fitness program.

  • Get medical clearance to exercise.
  • Don’t exercise if you are injured, sick, or running a temperature.
  • Always warm up and always cool down.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
  • Avoid heavy meals for about two hours before energetic exercise.
  • If fatigue and/or discomfort last longer than one or two hours after exercising, cut back the next day but don’t stop completely. Comfort ranges can change daily, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t do the same amount of exercise as you did the day before.
  • Concentrate on exercises that improve and maintain your range of motion, lubricate the joints and keep muscles flexible. Everyday activities will be easier to carry out and you’ll have less pain, too.

Stop exercise and consult your physician immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • chest pain or tightness in the chest, neck or throat
  • considerable difficulty breathing
  • abnormal heart rhythm; nausea’ dizziness, light headedness, or visual  interruption
  • excessive cold sweat
  • extreme or lasting weakness or fatigue

For a good, overall exercise program, consider tai chi. Tai chi is a self-paced system of gentle physical exercise. It involves standing and performing a series of movements in a slow, graceful way. Each movement smoothly flows into the next. Studies suggest that tai chi may improve balance and knee joint stability, both of which help balance.

Staying active does the body and the mind a world of good. Find exercise and activities that you enjoy and you’ll be able to stick with it and improve your quality of life.

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