A: The information I have comes with Food and Drug Administration support from the Council on Family Health.
Especially talk to your doctor or pharmacist about a new prescription. Discuss all of the over-the-counter medicine you take, dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals you take, as well as the food you eat. Ask your pharmacist for the package insert for each prescription drug you take. The package insert provides more information about potential drug side effects and interactions.
Before you take a drug, ask your doctor of pharmacist the following question:
Can I take it with other drugs?
Should I avoid certain foods, beverages or other products?
What are possible drug interaction signs I should know about?
How will the drug work in my body?
Is there more information available about the drug or my condition (on the Internet or in health and medical literature)?
If you still have questions after reading the drug product label, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. They may seem too busy to answer, but it is part of their responsibility to you. If either the doctor or the pharmacist does not respond to your request for information, perhaps you should consider changing the professionals with whom you deal.
Q. My wife and children are telling me to see a doctor about my hearing. I don't think it's so bad. Are there certain symptoms of hearing loss that will help me know what to do?
A. If your wife and children are suggesting you see a specialist, that's already an indication you probably do have a problem. Here is a little self quiz from the American Academy of Otolaryngology (head and neck doctors) that you might take. Score yourself on each question on this scale: 0 points "never"; 1 point: "occasionally"; 2 points: "half of the time"; 3 points: "almost always."
___ I have a problem hearing over the telephone.
___ I have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time.
___ People complain that I turn the TV volume too high.
___ I have to strain to understand conversations.
___ I miss some common sounds like the phone or doorbell ringing.
___ I have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy background such as a party.
___ I get confused about where sounds come from.
___ I misunderstand some words in a sentence and need to ask people to repeat themselves.
___ I especially have trouble understanding the speech of women and children.
___ I have worked in noisy environments (assembly line, jackhammers, jet engines, etc.).
___ Many people I talk to seem to mumble (or don't speak clearly).
___ People get annoyed because I misunderstand what they say.
___ I misunderstand what others are saying because I can't hear well and fear I'll reply improperly.
___ I avoid social activities because I can't hear well and fear I'll reply improperly.
___ To be answered by a family member or friend: "Do you think this person has a hearing loss?"
Add up your points. If you have a blood relative who has a hearing loss, add another 3 points.
The American Society of Otolaryngology recommends the following:
0-5 Your hearing is fine. No action required.
6-9 Suggest that you see an ear-nose-and-through specialist.
10 and above Strongly recommend you see an ear physician.
If you have a question or comment for "Sense for Seniors," write to Betty Gibb, Kansas Senior Press Service, 11875 S. Sunset, Suite 200, Olathe, 66061. Telephone: (913) 477-8103.