8 Questions to Ask Your Doctor During Your Physical

Sometimes it can take a little nudge to get to the doctor when something is really bothering you. When you’re finally at your annual physical exam, make sure you use the most of your time with your health professional by coming prepared with these eight questions.

1. In addition to the flu shot, what other vaccines am I due for?
Vaccinations don’t stop when you’re 18. Ask your doctor what you need and when based on your health. If you ask them, their front desk should help you schedule and send reminders for other vaccinations you’re due for.

2. Am I at a healthy weight?
According to the Huffington Post, “Among more than 7,700 people, just 45.2 percent of those considered overweight (a BMI of 25 or more) and 66.4 percent of those considered obese (a BMI of 30 or more) were told by a physician that they were overweight, found a study in Archives of Internal Medicine.” Extra weight is a risk factor for a number of ailments, like heart disease and some cancers.

3. How’s my hearing?
The most common type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which is caused by continual exposure to noise levels greater than 85 decibels (think the sound of a bulldozer). We don’t tend to think about losing our hearing until it’s already impaired, but NIHL usually occurs slowly over time, and you might not know that you have a hearing loss until it’s been established for several years. These days, we’re more susceptible than ever to NIHL through headphones, loud events, and even at work. According to the National Council on Aging, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased susceptibility to numerous other health complications, such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and anxiety.

4. What health issues am I at risk for?
The health issues that should be on your radar vary with age, lifestyle, and sex. Whether you’re sexually active with multiple partners or have been monogamous for years determines whether you should have an STI test. If you’ve recently picked up smoking, you should be more aware of the complications that follow. Or if you’ve gotten into an exercise routine, there are health benefits you may not think about that lessen your risk for certain ailments. Just be open and honest with your doctor to get the best health advice. Gender also affects your odds of hearing loss; the ailment is 5.5 times greater in men versus women.

5. Should I worry about hypertension before I’m 50?
Yes, if you had a hypertensive pregnancy or have a family history of high blood pressure. Reader’s Digest Best Health reports, “We know that within 10 years of that pregnancy, women have an increased risk of significant hypertension, and their cardiac risk goes up 10 years earlier than the general population,” says Dr. Jan Christilaw, senior medical advisor for provincial women’s health programs at the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre. What we do to our arteries in our 30s and 40s is critical: “Eat a reasonable diet low in cholesterol, maintain a normal weight, and exercise,” suggests Christilaw. According to the National Council on Aging, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased susceptibility to numerous other health complications, such as hypertension.

6. Considering my family history, am I at risk for certain diseases?
It’s important to keep your doctor up to date on your family members’ current health statuses. It’s also smart to update this list with any new conditions each year and seek the proper information about early warning signs.

7. Check in with your emotional status.
If you’ve been feeling a lack of energy or drive or a change in appetite, you may be depressed. Sometimes people like to think it’s just a funk, but it’s good to talk about your symptoms to ensure you’re getting all the help you need to live your most fulfilling life. The same goes with stress levels. Stress affects both your mind and your body. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger, and irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or the common cold, and vaccines such as the flu shot are less effective for them.”

8. Whatever else is on your mind.
Have a weird tick? Maybe your elbow hurts or there’s a new spot on your skin you didn’t notice before. This is the time to ask those questions you’ve had since you last saw your doctor.

If you have questions about your hearing, or protecting your hearing, ask your doctor to refer you to a hearing professional or Contact us to make an appointment!

Women’s Hearing Health: A Whole-Health Issue

Women’s Hearing Health: A Whole-Health Issue

In recent years, the physical, social, and health issues that women face in their daily lives have been making headlines. Campaigns like the Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women have been extremely successful at spreading awareness of women’s health issues. However, the impact hearing health has on women’s overall health and self-esteem has gone largely unrecognized.

Healthy Hearing Is Happy Hearing

Many with hearing loss choose not to engage in social activities because the stigma associated with it is embarrassing, despite the fact that treatment is likely to improve their social lives.

According to a study by the National Council on Aging, in which 2,090 close family members or friends of the hearing impaired were asked a parallel set of questions (both before and after treatment), benefits of treatment with hearing aids were significant, offering improvements in many areas of life ranging from relationships and social life to sense of independence.

  • Relations at home improved by 56% according to the user, 66% according to family and friends.
  • Self-image improved by 50% according to the user, 60% according to family and friends.
  • Life overall improved by 48% according to the user, 62% according to family and friends.
  • Mental health improved by 36% according to the user, 39% according to family and friends.
  • Social life improved by 34% according to the user, 41% according to family and friends.
  • Relations at work improved by 26% according to the user, 43% according to family and friends.

Maintaining and protecting your hearing health has value beyond the ability to hear and connect with your world; it is closely related to your physical, social, and mental well-being. Knowing your body’s relationship with hearing can help you stay mindful of your overall well-being and help create a path for healthier living.

Hearing Loss in Girls

The overall prevalence of hearing loss is 10.5% for males and 6.8% for females. While males at all ages are more likely than females to be deaf or hard of hearing, the gap widens after age 18.1 Not helping these numbers, especially in millennials, is loud music. More than 12 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss — about 5.2 million kids, reports a Centers for Disease Control study appearing in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Hearing plays a critical role in girls’ cognitive, social, and emotional development. If hearing loss goes undiagnosed, serious delays can occur, and speech and ability to understand language can be affected. Early detection and intervention can minimize the negative impacts of hearing loss. Parents should seek an evaluation for their child if they exhibit any of the hearing loss indicators above or fail to meet developmental milestones.

An audiologist can work closely with doctors, educators, and speech pathologists to perform tests and implement interventions, which will vastly improve a child’s overall future development — and improve the health prospects of the future of our local community.

Tips for Women to Help Manage Your Hearing Health

1. Maintain Your Heart’s Health

The association between cardiovascular health and hearing health has never been stronger. It’s all about blood circulation throughout the body.

Circulatory problems have the ability to affect any number of bodily processes, particularly in the most delicate areas of the body — like the cochlea, the delicate inner-ear organ responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. Conditions that restrict blood supply to the cochlea can starve the inner ear of necessary oxygen and permanently damage hearing.

Cardiovascular disease causes hardening of the arteries, which affects your circulation and, in turn, could affect your hearing. The Ear, Nose, and Throat Institute believes that the link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease is due to the inner ear’s sensitivity to circulation. The disease causes hardening of the arteries, which affects your circulation and, in turn, your hearing. If you have a history of heart disease, it is essential to have a baseline hearing evaluation to monitor changes in your hearing throughout the course of the disease.

2. Beware of Diabetes

Those with diabetes — particularly type 2 — are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, making them vulnerable to hearing loss. Studies show hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes compared to those without. High blood glucose levels linked with diabetes could cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear. The inner ear is essential in allowing the brain to properly process sounds.

3. Manage Hypertension

High blood pressure can lead to problems in the organs affected, especially the delicate cochlea. Because of how small the cochlea is, the veins and arteries carrying blood through the cochlea are among the tiniest in the body — and therefore important to protect in order to preserve healthy hearing.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Hearing health is whole-body health. A balanced diet is a great way to get all of the vitamins and nutrients listed here. If you have questions about your hearing health or more preventive measures, contact your hearing professional.

5. Quit Smoking

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, cigarette smoking was determined to be a factor in the development of hearing loss. Current smokers are 1.69 times as likely to have a hearing loss as nonsmokers, and nonsmokers who live with a smoker are more likely to have a hearing loss than those who are not exposed to secondhand smoke.

Those who smoke a pack a day for 40 years are 1.27 times as likely to have a hearing loss as those with who smoke a pack a day for 10 years.

The decision to better your hearing is life changing, but you don’t have to change your life to do it. If you are experiencing any of these conditions and need guidance or relief, or if you would simply like to know more about how to maintain your hearing health, contact us today!