Tag Archives: Audiology

Some Health Problems & Solutions

ACNE:
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Q: I have very bad acne and I have tried, unsuccessfully, all kinds of treatment for it. I was told to try zinc supplements.

A: Zinc does improve acne in some people. You are likely to be deficient if you are a vegetarian. The phytates in vegetables interfere with the absorption of zinc. You could start with 10-15 mg supplements and see if you improve in a month or so. Higher doses are likely to cause nausea.

HAIRY GIRL :
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Q: My one-year-old daughter is very hairy. She was born like that.

A: It may be a genetically inherited condition called “congenital hypertrichosis” which basically means being born with too much hair. For the first two years the hair increases and may become darker. It then spontaneously decreases and can disappear during adolescence. It can also be due to hormonal imbalances, steroids, or thyroid malfunction. You can rule these out with blood tests.

SKIN TAGS:
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Q: I have a few skin tags in my armpit. Are they cancerous?

A: Skin tags are harmless. They are likely to appear if you are an older person, diabetic or pregnant. They can be left alone. They are not cancerous. They need to be removed if they get snagged on clothing. It is better to get them removed by a doctor rather than trying to remove them yourself.

FIT ATTEND COLLEGE:
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Q: I have seizures. Now that I am going to college I have to stay away from home. I am a bit anxious.

A: Epilepsy is not a constraint against higher education. To stay safe, inform your room mates and hostel warden about your condition. Make sure you take your medications on time. Carry them in your bag if necessary. Do not miss or delay doses. Do not drive bikes or cars. Do not drink alcohol. If you follow all this you should be safe.

EATING EGGS:
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Q: Will eating eggs raise my cholesterol levels?

A: Eggs contain cholesterol but eating an egg a day is unlikely to cause much harm. Your cholesterol is more likely to rise from transfats found in snacks and fast food and lack of exercise.

DIET DEETS:
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Q: I want to start a 800 calorie diet to loose weight. I have been working with a dietician. Are there any side effects?

A:You should first have a medical check up to make sure you do not have any other diseases. Very low calorie diets can help with weight loss initially, but they usually cannot be sustained in the long term. Once you return to a normal diet, the weight may creep up again. Side effects are fatigue, nausea, constipation diarrhoea and sometimes gall stones.
Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Earache (Ear Infection)

Whether it’s a middle ear infection, located deep in the ear, or swimmer’s ear, affecting the outer ear canal, an earache hurts. It’s most often a problem in children, but adults get earaches too. Though some conditions clear up on their own, supplements can speed up the healing process….click & see

Symptoms:

Throbbing or steady pain in ear; pain when pulling on lobe.
Pressure or itching in the ear.
A bloody, green, yellow, or clear discharge from the ear.
Muffled hearing; popping in ear.
Fever.
Dizziness.

When to Call Your Doctor
If earache is accompanied by fever over 101 F, stiff neck, severe headache, or seepage of pus or other fluids; or if the ear or area behind it appears red or swollen — it is likely an infection requiring antibiotics.

What It Is
An earache results from inflammation, infection, or swelling in the outer canal of the ear or in the space adjoining the eardrum, which is the thin membrane that separates the outer and the middle ear. Normally, the eustachian tube, which extends from the middle ear to the throat, drains fluids from the ear, keeping it clear. But inflammation or infection can irritate the ear canal or block the Eustachian tube, leading to the buildup of pus or other fluids and causing pain and other unpleasant symptoms.


What Causes It

Earaches are typically caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, or fungi, usually preceded by an upper respiratory infection or seasonal allergies, or moisture trapped in the ear. Other causes include excessive ear wax, sudden changes in air pressure, a punctured eardrum, or exposure to irritating chemicals, such as hair dyes and chlorinated water.

How Supplements Can Help
The supplements listed below can play a supportive role in healing earaches. They can be used in conjunction with antibiotics, pain relievers, and other conventional remedies for short-term treatment of mild to moderate ear discomfort. All severe, lingering, or recurrent ear pain, however, requires medical evaluation.

What Else You Can Do
Place a warm compress on the outside of your ear; use a heating pad or warm washcloth. Heat can bring quick pain relief and facilitate healing.
Never insert a cotton swab, which can puncture the eardrum, into your ear. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner; it can irritate the ear canal.
Herbal eardrops often bring rapid pain relief — within 10 minutes of administration. To make the application of drops more comfortable, warm the bottle under hot running tap water before placing the liquid in the ear.
Don’t smoke and avoid smoke-filled rooms, especially if you’re prone to earaches. The latest study to look at the link between secondhand smoke and ear infections reported that exposure to smoke can affect the ears. Children who lived in households with at least two smokers were 85% more likely to suffer from middle ear infections than those who lived in nonsmoking homes.

Supplement Recommendations

Garlic Oil
Mullein Flower Oil
Lavender Oil
Eucalyptus Oil
Vitamin A
Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Echinacea

Garlic Oil
Dosage: A few drops in the ear twice a day.
Comments: May be used alone or with mullein flower oil.

Mullein Flower Oil
Dosage: A few drops in the ear twice a day.
Comments: May be used alone or with garlic oil.

Lavender Oil
Dosage: Apply a few drops to the outer ear and rub in gently.
Comments: Can be used as needed throughout the day.

Eucalyptus Oil

Dosage: Add several drops essential eucalyptus oil to pan of water.
Comments: Bring oil and water to boil and remove from heat; place towel over head and pan and inhale steam through the nose.

Vitamin A
Dosage: 50,000 IU twice a day until symptoms improve; if needed after 7 days, reduce to 25,000 IU a day until symptoms are gone.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.

Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids 3 times a day until infection clears.
Comments: Reduce vitamin C dose if diarrhea develops.

Echinacea
Dosage: 200 mg 3 times a day until infection clears.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 3.5% echinacosides.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Hearing Loss Is Common, but Often Untreated

Americans who suffer from hearing loss. They include a third of Americans over 60 and up to half of those over 75, most of whom have age-related hearing loss, a condition known medically as presbycusis. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition among older Americans, after hypertension and arthritis. Hearing difficulties in older people can have serious consequences, including social isolation, functional decline and depression. Hearing loss can also impair memory and cognitive function, according to a study by neuroscientists at Brandeis University.

A survey of 2,000 hearing-impaired adults conducted in 1999 by the National Council on Aging found that those using aids had better feelings about themselves, greater independence, improved mental health and better relationships with their families. Yet only one person in five with hearing loss wears a hearing aid — partly because of their cost, which is not covered by Medicare and rarely by private insurance.

Acknowledging the Problem
Some people do not know — or they deny — that they have a hearing problem, complaining instead that everyone seems to mumble or talk too fast. Even those who get a yearly physical rarely have their hearing checked. Others are embarrassed to wear a hearing aid. About 30 percent of people who have hearing aids don’t wear them daily.

Hearing aids have improved vastly in the past decade, in both design and selection. Even so, some people, having once had a bad experience, refuse to explore the many new options.

As with the eye and vision, there are many steps between the ear and hearing, a process that takes but a tiny fraction of a second. Sound entering the ear canal causes the eardrum to vibrate. These vibrations are picked up by three tiny bones in the middle ear that connect the drum to the cochlea, a snail-shell-like structure with three tubes filled with fluid. The resulting waves in the fluid signal hair cells in the cochlea that transmit electrical signals to the auditory nerve that connects to the brain stem. These signals then travel to the brain’s auditory center, where the message is processed.

Disruption or damage at any stage in this chain can result in hearing loss. Among factors that can damage hearing are trauma, chronic infection, wax buildup, fusion of ear bones, diseases like diabetes and medications like the antibiotics vancomycin and gentamicin. Some anticancer drugs are also toxic to the ear. Heredity, too, plays a role; some people carry gene mutations that make them more susceptible to hearing loss.

The most common environmental factor is loud noise, either a sudden very loud noise like an explosion or gunshot next to the ear or, more commonly, repeated exposure to loud noises like those produced by rock bands or earbuds and headphones. Some rockers and countless rock fans have developed hearing problems.

Hearing loss associated with aging most often results from cumulative damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, which, like other body parts, suffer the wear and tear of age. The first to decline are those in the outer part of the cochlea that are sensitive to high-frequency sounds, including those produced by the consonants f, sh, ch, p, s and t, which are crucial to clarity in perceiving speech. The low-frequency vowel sounds are the last to go.

Finding a Solution
Detection of a hearing problem is the first step. Hearing specialists have long urged family physicians to check the hearing of patients over 60 at every annual visit by doing a whisper test in each ear or administering a short written quiz.

Anyone with a suspected hearing problem should be referred to an audiologist for detailed testing, or to an otolaryngologist if the cause is medical. Anyone experiencing sudden loss of hearing in one or both ears should consult an otolaryngologist without delay. That could be a reversible problem if treated quickly.

Audiologists are certified clinicians trained to analyze a hearing problem, prescribe hearing aids and help people adjust to their use. In areas where there is no audiologist, look for a licensed hearing aid specialist who is trained to fit and dispense hearing aids.

Choosing a Hearing Aid

Four styles of aids are now available, ranging in price from about $400 to $3,000:

*  A behind-the-ear model fits over the ear and directs sound into the ear canal through a tube and custom-fitted ear mold. This model offers the most circuit and feature options and is easiest to handle for people with limited dexterity.

*An in-the-ear model fits into the outer ear and projects slightly into the ear canal. It is relatively easy to handle and also supports many features.

* An in-the-canal model protrudes only slightly into the outer ear but can accommodate fewer features and is more difficult to handle.

* A completely-in-the-canal model, the smallest and most difficult to handle, is not noticeable in the outer ear but has the fewest features.

Audiologists can help patients select the most appropriate model based on their hearing and living needs and dexterity. When circumstances change, audiologists can also reprogram hearing aids. New designs help patients distinguish speech in noisy environments; some adjust automatically while others require the user to make adjustments. For people with severe hearing loss who need a lot of amplification, new devices have been designed to suppress the high-pitched whistle that can be produced by a hearing aid turned to high volume amplification.

Most important for anyone getting a hearing aid is to take the time needed to adjust to its use. No hearing aid can replace normal hearing, but when properly fitted and adjusted, an aid can greatly improve quality of life.

For more information on hearing aids and preventing hearing loss: “Save Your Hearing Now  by Michael D. Seidman and Marie Moneysmith.

Source:  The New York Times