Rock concerts can come back to haunt your hearing

March 27, 2014

Q. I’m a baby boomer who still loves rock concerts, but sometimes I worry if the noise is hurting my old ears.

Sound volume is measured in decibels. You risk hearing loss when you are exposed to sounds at 85 decibels or more. The louder the sound and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.

Here’s the bad news: rock music is on many lists as an example of a dangerous sound. Here’s one of those lists:

30 dB = library

50 dB = rain

60 dB = conversation (apolitical)

70 dB = vacuum cleaner

80 dB = busy street

90 dB = shop tools

100 dB = chain saw

110 dB = rock music among audience

120 dB = rock music on bandstand

130 dB = jackhammer

140 dB = air raid siren

150 dB = rock music crescendo

Most people’s hearing diminishes with age. About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from some loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. Those who are healthy and not exposed to loud noise can maintain their hearing for many years.

Q. I’m allergic to mold. Any tips to avoid it?

There are many types of molds, which are fungi that thrive where it is damp and warm. They reproduce by spreading spores, asexual reproductive bodies. Spores are invisible to our eyes. They float through outdoor and indoor air. If you are allergic to molds, your immune system overreacts when you inhale spores. Mold allergy symptoms can include sinusitis, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough, postnasal drip, itchy and watery eyes.

Here are some ways to keep mold spores away:

• When doing yard work, wear a dust mask over your nose and mouth. Mold is abundant where leaves or other vegetation are decomposing

• When the mold count is high, do not drive with your car windows open

• When the nights are wet, sleep with your windows closed. This is when the concentration of spores is the highest

• Reduce your outdoor time when the weather is wet

• Put a dehumidifier anywhere in your home that is musty

• Air-conditioning in your home is a must if you have allergies; clean the AC filters often

• Ventilate bathrooms, especially after bathing or showering

• Clean bathroom and basement wall surfaces regularly with a bleach solution

• Remove leaves and vegetation from around the foundation of your home. Clean gutters often

Q. Is pain a necessary part of aging?

Pain affects as much as 65 percent of independent older adults and up to 80 percent of seniors in long-term care facilities. The following are some of the causes: About 80 percent of older adults suffer from osteoarthritis, inflammation of the joints. You get osteoarthritis when cartilage - the cushioning tissue within the joints - wears down. This produces stiffness and pain. You can get osteoarthritis in any joint, but it usually strikes those that support weight. People with diabetes, a condition that affects almost 20 percent of Americans over the age of 60, often have circulatory problems that produce pain.

Spinal problems such as herniated disks, spinal narrowing and arthritis are the causes of back and neck pain, which is very common in older adults.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic pain in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints.

Headache is a common difficulty for seniors.

Pain in the face, mouth and teeth can be brought on by periodontal diseases, tooth loss, and medication side effects.

When older people suffer from chronic pain, there are many complications. Pain can make them lose sleep, diminish their ability to function, lead them to be more dependent on others, dampen their appetite, isolate and depress them, and reduce physical activity, which can make them get out of shape and be more likely to suffer a fall.