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CHECK Berlin/Brandenburg #6

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Health ENGLISH The causes of this are divided into different categories and can occur in both an acute and a chronic form. CONDUCTIVE OR TRANSMISSION HEARING LOSS Here everything is still heard, but more quietly. Crucially here, however, is that the quality, such as the intelligibility of the words, is retained. In the acute variant, mechanical causes are often the reason, such as ear wax and foreign bodies in the ear. It can also be caused by a cold (stuffy nose), a change in air pressure when flying or diving, an acute otitis media, a blow to the ear, or an inflammation-related swelling of the skin (boils). Chronic causes include chronic otitis media, congenital malformations, tumors or excessive bone growth in the ear canal. In the case of sensorineural hearing loss, on the other hand, damage or functional weakness is usually present in parts of the inner ear and leads to what is known as deafness. It can be triggered by a sudden hearing loss, an explosion noise (the hair cells die due to the enormous sound wave), multiple sclerosis, but also by infectious diseases such as mumps, measles, scarlet fever, Lyme disease and AIDS. Also in rare cases as a side effect of drugs such as cytostatics, some antibiotics, but also water tablets (diuretics) and aspirin. Mercury, lead or carbon monoxide poisoning also damage hearing. Hearing impairment can also be psychological, possibly because people unconsciously simply do not want to or cannot hear things in extreme stressful situations. Sensorineural hearing loss often becomes chronic with age and as a result of metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, kidney or thyroid dysfunction. But here, too, constant noise above 80dB, for example from construction sites or clubs, as well as congenital malformations of the inner ear can lead to this stage. AGE TAKES ITS TOLL Smokers as well as the chronically ill and people who work in very noisy environments are more affected by hearing loss. This is often accompanied by a "constant noise or ringing in the ear" (tinnitus). If the actual cause is not investigated in good time and any illnesses treated, foreign bodies removed or hearing aids fitted, this can have negative consequences for social contacts. The dangers in everyday situations such as in traffic should not be underestimated either. Foto: asierromero / freepik.com 34 CHECK BERLIN/BRANDENBURG #6 HEARING AIDS AND LIP READING A hearing aid should be provided as early as possible. The selection of small, inconspicuous models with high performance is now very large and the opportunity to relax and watch TV or make phone calls, listen to music, pod-

Health casts or lectures via the hearing aids seems like a small miracle for those affected. If there is no inner ear function, but at least an intact auditory nerve, you can opt for a hearing prosthesis, a so-called cochlear implant. Regardless of the technical possibilities, among other things, learning sign language and lip reading, speech therapy support and hearing training make sense. If a family member is hearing impaired, you can support them by speaking short sentences clearly in their direction and supporting them with gestures and facial expressions. The television and radio should be switched to “mute mode” or correspondingly quietly in parallel. Make sure that the hearing impaired are involved in conversations and, based on their facial expressions and head position, observe whether what has been said has been understood and then briefly summarize it again. Author: Michaela Medrow pharmaceutical representative and cosmetician With the kind support of Witzleben Apotheken in Berlin Kaiserdamm 24 + 26, 14057 Berlin www.witzleben-apotheke.de MY OWN EXPERIENCE My grandma was hard of hearing and dad already had a hearing aid when he was 38. That was 45 years ago and it was still a very noticeable item that squeaked as soon as you hugged. Since I also wear glasses, I ignored my hearing loss: I really didn't want to walk around with another aid! Although an ENT doctor asked me about four years ago that I should do something soon, the decisive moment first came during a walk in the forest. My companion mentioned the chirping of different species of birds, but I couldn't hear them at all. I quickly made a doctor's appointment: a hearing test confirmed the hearing loss. A hearing aid was then prescribed and the optimal hearing aid was found in a process of several weeks. I am happy to finally no longer annoy the people around me with constant inquiries. And I am less exhausted from concentrated listening in the evening and like to take the two parts out of my ears for a short while for a walk for the "with-and-without- chirping effect”. Simply fascinating! And now whenever I have to ask about what someone just said on tellie, the answer is: they mumbled, I didn't understand them either. How can you prevent hearing loss? The best thing you can do to protect your hearing is to avoid constant noise. Never turn up the control on your headphones loudly and just leave the TV switched off sometimes. There are also different types of earplugs for private and professional use if you cannot turn off the noise. Basically, a balanced, healthy diet and avoiding nicotine have a positive effect on the entire body and thus also on our hearing. The vitamin and mineral supplements that have been shown to reduce the likelihood of hearing loss include folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins as well as magnesium and vitamin E. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get more advice.number (0800) 1239900. CHECK BERLIN/BRANDENBURG #6 35

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