By Deano Kinsey
In our modern world, more
and more of us are exposed
to more and more noise. As
this month is National
Hearing Awareness Month,
it is a good idea to stop and
ask yourself: Am I at risk of
losing some of my hearing?
Noisy jobs, concerts,
gun ranges, nightclubs and even prolonged
headphone use and car stereos at high volumes
can slowly diminish and degrade the ability to
hear. And it doesn’t come back.
Once people lose enough hearing, it can
negatively affect their ability to feel connected
in many conversations and social situations, as
the ability to understand sounds and speech is
adversely affected. As hearing loss worsens,
many people withdraw from activities that
might reveal their problem and from situations that could cause them embarrassment.
Hearing loss can also make daily household life difficult and frustrating when just
one member of the home can’t hear very well.
In my work as a hearing-instrument specialist, I constantly hear spouses and family
members saying things like “He answers as if
he didn’t hear the question very well,”’ or “She
acts like she completely understands what we
said, but later we learn she didn’t have a clue.”
When a person can’t hear very well, pro-
Now ear this!
DOWN SYNDROME is a genetic disorder that occurs when an individual has
three copies of the 21st chromosome
instead of the usual two copies. That additional genetic material alters development
and causes the characteristics associated
with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is named after John
Langdon Down, a British doctor who
described the syndrome in 1866. About
one in 691 children in the U.S. is born with
Down syndrome, according to estimates
from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The National Down Syndrome
Society (NDSS) estimates that more than
400,000 people in the U.S. are living with
Most people with Down syndrome
have several things in common.
; They are at risk for certain medical
conditions, including congenital heart
defects, respiratory and hearing problems, childhood leukemia and thyroid
; They exhibit common physical
traits to varying degrees, including low
muscle tone, small stature, an upward
slant to the eyes and a single deep crease
across the center of the palm.
; They experience mild to moderate
cognitive delays, which are not indicative
of the varied strengths and talents of each
NDSS founded the Buddy Walk in
1995 to spread its mission of promoting
the value, acceptance and inclusion of
people with Down syndrome at the local
level. This national program has grown
from 17 Buddy Walks in 1995 to more
than 250 expected this year. Last year,
some 295,000 people participated, raising more than $11.75 million to support
local and national programs. Most
Buddy Walks take place in or around
October. Go to
www.ndss.org to find an
event near you.—David Wight
Tablet or smartphone?
Scan or click here for a My
Great Story video from
NDSS about a special
bond between two sisters.
from hearing loss
YEARS AGO, RHEUMATOID arthritis was
considered a signal to slow down. However,
research now shows the traditional recommendation of bed rest and drug therapy isn’t
the only—or even the best—solution.
Should arthritis patients exercise?
Exercise is critical in arthritis management. It helps maintain strong and healthy
muscles, joint mobility, flexibility and endurance. It also helps control weight.
Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease
active joint inflammation, pain and fatigue.
Arthritis patients need a good balance
between the two: rest during the active phase
of arthritis, and exercise during remission.
To find out how much rest is best during
Exercises for patients with arthritis
flare-ups, or if you experience unusual or per-
sistent fatigue, increased weakness, a decrease
in range of motion, an increase in joint swell-
ing or pain that lasts more than one hour after
exercising, talk to your healthcare provider.
• Activities such as stretching and dancing can help maintain normal joint movement and increase joint flexibility. Perform
such activities every day, or every other day.
• Weight lifting can help support and protect the joints affected by arthritis. Unless pain
or swelling occurs and is severe, perform such
exercises every other day.
• Walking, swimming or riding a bike can
help improve your cardiovascular system while
toning your muscles and controlling your
weight. Exercise 20 to 30 minutes three times a
week unless pain and swelling are severe. C
Information provided by the American
Don’t take arthritis lying down
viding the wrong answers to questions and
odd responses in conversations becomes
more and more problematic. Often a pivotal
moment occurs, and the person may seek
help as the problem simply becomes too big
to ignore anymore.
Look for these clues to hearing loss:
; Television at elevated volume levels
; Constant need to repeat or say things
; Frequent misunderstandings in
; Stress/anger over poor communication
According to the National Institutes of
Health, roughly 36 million people in the U.S.
have a hearing loss. If you or someone you care
about has a hearing loss, and it is affecting quality of life, keep these important things in mind:
; Learn what you can about hearing loss
and hearing aids.
; Get tested by a hearing professional.
; Talk to successful hearing aid wearers.
Don’t wait to get part of your life back. C
Deano Kinsey is a Costco hearing instrument
specialist at the Vacaville, California, location
and the author of the hearing self-help book
Stick It In Your Ear (not available at Costco).
Costco has hearing centers at most U.S. locations. Check Costco.com for locations.