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Archive for July, 2013

Bicycle Safety

I did it again. I had another fall.  No, not from a ladder this time, (I think I learned my lesson), but from my bicycle. Thankful to be alive. Saved again from my own carelessness. How many times is it going to take to figure this out?

Anyhow, not long ago I was out for my routine bike ride going up in the Mount Hermon Conference grounds. The pavement was unusually wet due to a light rain during the night. As I got close to the top, I suddenly realized that I had misjudged my timing and had to get back home, so I quickly turned around and headed back in just a little more of a hurry. I came to a sharp curve in the road and as I made the turn I saw a car in the opposite lane. Although there may have been no problem with this, my reaction was to hit the brakes which locked up on the wet pavement and down I went. I ended up on my back partially on top of my bicycle. And yes, I was wearing my helmet.

I was able to pedal back home feeling just a little achy and decided not to tell my wife about what had just happened, since I don’t think she’s ever gotten over my ladder accident several years ago when, once again, I almost killed myself. When I arrived home and got off my bike I realized that my right hip was hurting and I was limping a little. I couldn’t hide that from my wife so I fessed up. She actually took it in stride. However, within a few hours my hip hurt so, that I couldn’t walk on it.

An x ray of my hip thankfully showed no evidence of a fracture but it took several weeks on crutches to recover.

The reason I’m telling this story is to remind my fellow weekend warriors and risk takers that accidents happen in a split second and are usually caused by a momentary act of carelessness such as my ladder and bike accidents. Hopefully even at my age I’m beginning to learn to take it just a little more cautiously and carefully with my activities. Coincidentally, both of my accidents occurred in unusually wet environments which should have made me even more careful.

I find that, for myself and the thousands of patients whom I have treated over the years for a wide variety of injuries, doing any activity in even just a little more of a hurry than usual or trying to take even a little short cut, or not being fully aware of our surroundings, are the common denominators for causing injuries. Almost every patient I treat for an injury, including myself, uses the word “stupid” when describing how their injury occurred.

Do yourselves a favor and exercise just a little more caution and patience in all your activities. Take it from someone who’s learning it the hard way.

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Hearing loss

Are you having difficulty understanding words in a conversation, or turning up the volume on your TV, or asking people to repeat themselves when speaking to you, or even avoiding conversations and social gatherings?

If so, you are likely suffering from hearing loss. Up to one third of those between the ages of 65 to 75 and one half of those over 75, have some degree of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons:

– Prolonged exposure to loud noise which damages the very sensitive inner ear nerves.

– Earwax which can build up in the ear canal and form a physical barrier blocking sound waves from the inner ear.

– Ruptured eardrum from exposure to an explosive noise, from infection, or from damage such as sticking something in your ear, most commonly a Q-tip.

There are various risk factors leading to hearing loss including:

– Occupational or recreational noise.

– Advancing age.

– Heredity.

– Side effects of some medications.

– Result of infection such as meningitis or measles.

Treatments for hearing loss include:

– Removing earwax when indicated.

– Hearing aids.

– Cochlear implants for more severe hearing loss which involves a surgical procedure.

If you are suffering from hearing loss, I strongly urge you to consider a hearing aid. Many people are reluctant to use hearing aids. This may be due to a perceived negative stigma attached to hearing loss, or to expense, since hearing aids can be expensive and not covered by Medicare or most private insurances. Contrary to these fears, the use of hearing aids can significantly enhance social situations and provide a more enjoyable lifestyle. It may even delay early dementia.

Hearing aid technology has expanded by leaps and bounds over the past decade and there should be a hearing aid that is best suited to your particular hearing loss.

If you are having problems with your hearing make an appointment with a qualified audiologist and have a routine hearing test. From there you may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for treatment of a specific problem or the audiologist may be able to provide you with an appropriate hearing aid. Don’t put off what may be a life enhancing experience for you.

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