How can I protect my hearing?

According to the Better Hearing Institute, one-third of hearing loss is preventable. So what measures can you take to protect your own hearing? For starters, it’s important to limit the amount of time you spend doing noisy activities. This seems obvious, but many people don’t realize that repeated exposures to loud noises can add up to cause damage later. Second, if you must participate in a noisy activity (such as mowing the lawn), wear proper protection. By wearing ear plugs or muffs, people can limit the amount of noise that enters the ear canal. These devices can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or a basic drug store. Third, turn down the noise that you can control.

It’s easy to leave the TV on too loud or be tempted to crank up the stereo in the car, but even these small choices can have negative consequences on your hearing. Instead, make a conscious effort to keep the volume down low when you’re watching TV and listening to the radio. This goes for all handheld devices, as well. Personal music players with ear bud-style headphones allow the music to have direct access to your ear canal, so listeners must use extra caution when using these types of players. Finally, the Better Hearing Institute recommends that patients ask their doctor about possible negative side effects of their medications. Some medicines can actually be dangerous to a person’s hearing, so do some research and talk to your doctor about your concerns. When it comes to hearing, prevention is the key to preservation.

Does your child need braces?

One of the benefits of taking your child to see the dentist regularly is that he or she can monitor your child’s teeth and alert you to the need for orthodontic treatment. Parents can also look for warning signs so they are prepared to ask the dentist about any problematic teeth or mouth structures. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests all children should be evaluated by the age of 7 to determine the need or timeline for orthodontic treatment. It is important to talk to your child’s dentist about your options if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Crowded/overlapped teeth or highly separated teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth do not touch when chewing
  • Upper front teeth fall behind the bottom teeth when chewing
  • Upper front teeth extend too far over the bottom teeth when chewing, or protrude at an odd angle
  • Lower jaw shifts to one side when chewing

In addition, if your child still sucks his or her thumb after age 6 or so, there may be an increased risk for crooked teeth. The same goes for people who experience early or late loss of baby teeth and consistently breathe through their mouths. Ask your child’s dentist if it’s time for an orthodontic review. By staying aware of these signs and communicating with your dentist, you can make sure your child gets the treatment she needs at the correct time.

Questions to ask about child prescriptions

If your child needs medication to recover from an illness, talk to your True Dental Discounts prescription plan doctor about the medicine she has prescribed before you take it home. Some questions to ask include:

  • What exactly is the drug? What does it prevent or do?
  • How often does my child need to take this medication? In what dosage?
  • What side effects come with taking this medication? Should I be alert for any changes in condition?
  • How soon after taking the medication will it start working?
  • What if my child skips a dose?
  • How long should I continue giving my child this medicine?
  • Should I continue administering the remaining medication, even if the child appears to be recovered?
  • Could this medication possibly interfere with another medication my child currently takes?

Could your child’s toys negatively impact his hearing?

Walk around your local toy store and you’ll see millions of different toys for your child to play with. Many of them include a sound component, which, in addition to being annoying to parents, can also pose a risk to a child’s hearing. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, some children’s toys – like sirens or squeaky rubber toys – can actually emit sounds of 90 decibels. To put that in perspective, adults experiencing that level of noise at work would have to wear ear protection!  Worse, when held up to a child’s ear during play, these toys can actually reach up to 120 decibels – a painful level that can result in permanent hearing loss.

The Association suggests that some of the most dangerous toys for hearing include cap guns, vehicles with sirens, walkie talkies, vacuum toys, and even talking dolls. Before buying a new toy, be sure to test out its sound component; if you already have dangerous toys at home, take out the batteries to ensure they stay quiet. Healthy hearing practices begin at a young age, so start protecting your child at all times – even during play time. Talk to a doctor in your True Dental Discounts hearing plan if you have any questions or concerns about toys around your house.

This prescription can cause what?

Television commercials for prescription drugs today are filled with disclaimers about the risks of side effects. All drugs – even aspirin – have side effects, but they range from minor and slightly irritating to very serious. According to pharmacist Jim Morelli, the most common side effects of medication involve the gastrointestinal system (such as upset stomachs). Fortunately, the FDA must approve all new drugs released on the market to protect consumers and weigh the benefits vs. risks of each medication. However, many side effects are not known until after the product has been released. Because of this, the FDA recently mandated that all dispensed prescriptions (as well as many over-the-counter medications) must be labeled with a toll-free number. This number gives anyone the opportunity to report adverse effects they experience from taking the medication.

The risk of side effects alone should not discourage people from taking medicine that is necessary for their health, so talk to your True Dental Discounts doctor or pharmacist about any potential effects of prescriptions you’ve been taking. He or she can explain the benefits vs. risks of each drug and show you how to prevent certain irritating symptoms such as dry mouth. If you do happen to notice adverse effects from your prescriptions, it is important to tell your doctor because he or she can help you find a different prescription that works best for your body and your overall health.