Q. I’m worried about my hearing because I played in a rock band when I was a youth. How dangerous is the sound level on the bandstand?
Sound volume is measured in decibels (dB). 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
Q. Is it true that you can get Legionnaires’ disease from gagging on a drink of water? This has got to be bogus.
While this sounds like an urban myth, it is true.
Most people become infected with Legionnaires’ disease when they inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. If you choke or cough while drinking, you can get water in your lungs. If the water contains legionella, you may develop Legionnaires’ disease, which is a form of pneumonia.
Q. Every so often, my left eye twitches. It goes away after a while, but it’s annoying. Is there a remedy?
Eye-twitching, which is also called eye spasms or blinking disorder, is known technically as blepharospasm. It usually is not a serious condition.
In most cases, eyelid spasms stop on their own. The most common causes are fatigue, stress, prolonged staring, eye strain, and caffeine. The best remedies are more sleep, relaxation techniques, reduced caffeine, warm soaks, eye drops, and correcting vision deficiencies.
Q. Will taking testosterone bring back the virility of my youth?
The subject of testosterone is fuzzy, so it’s difficult to give a simple answer to this question.
There is some controversy about whether testosterone therapy should be used in men who have naturally lower testosterone levels because of aging. It remains unclear whether restoring earlier testosterone levels benefits older men.
Q. My father is 82 and his driving is getting scary. I’ve been asking him to give up the keys, but he won’t do it. Any suggestions about how to handle this?
Here are some questions driving experts recommend asking older motorists to determine if they are still road-worthy:
Do other drivers often honk at me?
Have I had some accidents?
Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
Do cars or pedestrians seem to appear out of nowhere?
Have passengers in my car told me they are worried about my driving?
Q. I’m having a knee replaced and I was wondering what it’s going to be like when I get home after the surgery.
More than nine out of 10 patients who have a total knee replacement have positive results. They experience reduced pain and improved ability to perform common activities.
Within the first year after your operation, you should increase your endurance gradually. One of the key pitfalls is trying to do too much too soon.
Q. I have this ringing in my ears almost all the time. My doctor says it is age-related tinnitus. I tried some of his recommendations to deal with it, but haven’t been successful. Any suggestions?
Q. I’m a 64-year-old woman who is lactose intolerant. Do you think this will put me at risk for osteoporosis?
Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, which means they have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose intolerance usually is not dangerous.
Q. Are women happier than men?
There was a study of men and women in the United States that showed women are happier than men in their youth, and are unhappier when they are old.
The research was done by two economists, Anke Plagnol of the University of Cambridge and Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California.
“Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.”
- Bernard Meltzer
Q. What is the leading cause of brain injuries?
About 1.4 million people suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year in the United States. Half of all TBIs are caused by accidents involving automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. These accidents are the major cause of TBI in people under age 75.
Falls cause the majority of TBIs in people 75 and older. This group has the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and death.