HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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A few devices that help improve hearing include hearing aids, an electronic instrument worn in or behind your ear. To find the hearing aid that works best for you, you may have to try more than one. Be sure to ask for a trial period and work with your hearing-aid provider until you are comfortable putting it on and off, changing the battery and adjusting the volume. Cochlear implants are small electronic devices surgically implanted in the inner ear. These help profoundly deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals with severe hearing loss. There are also bone-anchored hearing systems and assistive listening devices for telephone and cell phone amplification.


For more information about hearing loss, contact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at 1-800-241-1044 or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at 1-800-638-8255.

ALL ABOUT AGE-RELATED HEARING LOSS


Your primary care physician may refer you to an otolaryngologist, an audiologist or a hearing- aid specialist. An otolaryngologist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose, throat and neck and will offer treatment options. An audiologist is trained to identify and measure the type and degree of hearing loss and may be licensed to fit hearing aids. A hearing aid specialist is licensed to conduct and evaluate basic hearing tests, offer counseling and test and fit hearing aids.


To help you cope with hearing loss, the National Institute of Aging suggests you:


JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN and a freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines. Her Web site is at

www.normajean.naiwe.com

more articles by jean jeffers

As any senior can tell you, chronic maladies prevail as we age. This is true for many conditions, including age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). This hearing loss gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 years has some hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 years have difficulty hearing.


Age-related hearing loss is most often found equally in both ears. It is important to remember that because the loss is gradual, an individual may not recognize they are hard of hearing for years.


Age-related hearing loss often arises from changes in the inner ear as the years go by, but it may also be a consequence of changes in middle ear or from intricate changes along the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain. Conditions common to older adults, including high blood pressure or diabetes, may contribute to hear- ing loss. Some medications are toxic to the sensory cells in your ears. For example, chemotherapy drugs may cause hearing loss.


See your doctor if you: