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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of tinnitus. Distraction therapies use external sounds to divert the patient’s attention from the tinnitus. Habituation trains the patient’s brain to reclassify tinnitus as an unimportant sound that can be consciously ignored.


To prevent tinnitus, try to limit your exposure to loud sounds. If you can’t avoid them, use ear protection to help protect your hearing. But remember, listening to music at very high volume through headphones can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.


You can visit the ATA Website to learn more about tinnitus and its treatment. You can also search on the site for a doctor who specializes in treating the condition.


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What is tinnitus? According to American Tinnitus Association tinnitus is an audiological and neurological condition that affects over 50 million (mostly older) Americans, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present. It’s commonly referred to as a ringing in the ears, but it can take many different forms, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with one’s ability to concentrate. It may be constant or intermittent, steady or pulsating. Tinnitus can be both acute (temporary) or chronic (ongoing).


Most people have subjective tinnitus  – noise only they can hear. Sensorineural hearing loss causes most tinnitus cases. Other causes include age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. An ear infection or ear canal blockage can also cause tinnitus. Muscle spasms in the inner ear can result in tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Head or neck trauma can affect the inner ear, hearing nerves or brain function linked to hearing. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are sometimes associated with tinnitus. Tinnitus has also been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise- related hearing loss and tinnitus.

TINNITUS

Some medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin taken in high doses, certain antibiotics, cancer drugs, water pills (diuretics), antimalarial drugs and antidepressants. Smokers have a higher risk of developing tinnitus. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk. Tinnitus can cause fatigue, stress and sleep problems. It can interfere with concentration and memory and may lead to depression, anxiety and irritability.


There is currently no scientifically proven cure for most types of tinnitus, but there are several treatment and therapy options available. These options reduce the perceived intensity and omnipresence of tinnitus. While they do not repair the underlying causes of tinnitus nor eliminate the tinnitus signal in the brain, they do address tinnitus’ attentional, emotional and cognitive impact. They help patients live better, more fulfilling and more productive lives. The ATA says the most effective tinnitus treatment tools address the aspects of tinnitus that make the condition feel burdensome: anxiety, stress, social isolation, sound sensitivity, hearing difficulties, perceived volume. These tools include sound masking or sound therapy that uses external noise to partially or completely cover the sound