Stop the Mumbling! Clearing up the Conversation

Mumbled speech is an inconsiderate habit. It makes communication difficult and leads to frustration,   conflict, and completely imagined and embarrassing “guesses” at what you thought someone else said.  The funny thing is that your likelihood of being increasingly surrounded by “mumble-ers” depends on several factors including your genetics, noise exposure, and how many birthdays you’ve enjoyed.  What?  I’ll explain…

You see, increasing mumbles (and resulting grumbles) are actually a major sign of declining hearing acuity.  This is because most of us lose hearing very gradually (and sneakily) and often only for certain sounds or pitches.  This often happens so slowly, in fact, that hearing is never questioned as being abnormal, yet other people’s speech loses clarity and distinction.  Hence, “they mumble.”

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For this reason and others, many dismiss signs of hearing trouble for far too long, missing benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.

Catching hearing loss early and the potential causes (e.g., noise exposure, diabetes, ototoxic medications) can lead to counseling and treatment to help slow or prevent progression.  Certain conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, put people at greater risk making routine hearing checks even more important.

Hearing loss limits our ability to fully enjoy life; strains relationships; leads to depression, social   isolation and other psychosocial disorders; restricts career advancement and earning power; and untreated loss has even been linked to dementia.   Definitely not good things to have sneaking up on you!                                                                            The first step is scheduling a simple audiologic check-up.

Doctors of Audiology (Au.D.) possess specialized education and clinical training for providing comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and management of ear and hearing disorders and are the provider of choice (yes, ignore the gimmicky “free” tests and hearing aid sales ads you get from dealers and manufacturers).  Your short visit will establish a hearing baseline and answer many  questions on how to best manage your hearing and communication health.

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If, and when, a person becomes a candidate for an amplification prescription, your audiologist can best provide proper selection, fitting, and rehabilitative adjustments for hearing aids.  Hearing aids are quite amazing both in appearance (or lack of) and capability with the advancement of digital processing.

It is never too soon (or late) to start taking good care of your hearing health.  Clearing up conversations will translate into a happier life as a Boomer…and Beyond!

Clint Keifer, Au.D., is the owner of Great Lakes

Audiology, LLC

Sylvania Old Timer Hockey Making a goal at any age

The Sylvania Old Timers Hockey League have been  hitting the ice for the past 20 years. “For most of us, hockey is the number one thing we love to do and we want to make it a great experience,” says Dan Saevig, who serves as commissioner for the league and one of its six captains. The league consists of six teams of 13 players and there are 12  players on a waiting list. “Since our players are fifty years old and up, combined with the physical demands of the game, occasionally we need to pull players from the waiting list.” Saevig has played for the last five years and enjoys playing with others who love the game. “We respect each other and you won’t find the ‘chippiness’ you would normally find on other teams. There is no hitting, forcing someone to the boards, or checking. We play on Sundays and realize that come Monday morning, our players will continue to enjoy retirement or will be heading to work,” says Saevig. There are two women in the league and a variety of ages and professions represented.  “There is no typical player,” says    Saevig. “We have lawyers, construction workers and doctors and everything in between, ages 50-73, who love playing hockey at any age.” Off the ice,  Saevig is executive director of the University of Toledo Alumni Association. Members are selected during an annual draft. Teams are selected to maintain a balance in level of play. “We try to achieve parity,” says   Saevig. “Anyone can win. People in the league have been playing for 30-40 years. We recognize who has better ability, which makes it easy for captains to determine strong skaters.”

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League members participated in the Toledo Walleye Winterfest and were excited to have the opportunity to play outdoors at Fifth Third Field. “Most of us grew up playing hockey outdoors,” says Saevig. “For all of us to play outside again was magical. We had two refs at  Winterfest who used to ref high school games. They waited to retire until after Winterfest. Their swan song was to referee our game and see players they knew when they officiated high school matches.”

The season starts in September and runs until the end of March. However, twenty or so players continue to play through the summer months. Their crowds are enthusiastic and usually consists of kids and grandkids of the players. Saevig said the hockey is fun but a little different than high school or professional hockey. “The first thing you will notice is speed, or lack thereof. We know where we need to go but sometimes our bodies don’t cooperate.” It appears that hockey is the glue that holds everyone together. It is not unusual for the league members to attend Walleye games together and socialize off the ice.

Referee Rick Marlowe worked his final game at Winterfest at Fifth Third Field.
Referee Rick Marlowe worked his final game at Winterfest at Fifth Third Field.

“We also know when someone is dating or engaged. Their significant others come to the games. Once they are married they no long show up!  We’re all going through a maturation process but we really have never grown up. We’re like little kids; kids who want to play hockey as long as possible.”

Watch the Sylvania Old Timers in action Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter, 7060 West Sylvania Ave. For more information on the Sylvania Old Timers visit sylvaniaoldtimershockey.com.

Exercise + People = Ageless Fun & Fitness

I took my first group exercise class when I was 50 and overweight. I had worked out intermittently for years and like so many of us, was too busy with a stressful job to make it a regular habit. I had a gym membership but was planning to cancel it when a friend persuaded me to take a “Group Power” class at ProMedica Wildwood Athletic Club.

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I had never done anything like it. The cheesy but inspiring music, and the many barbell and body weight exercises were challenging but with music and class members the hour flew by. I found myself going to 2 classes, then 3 classes a week, each one similar formats, but different moves and music. I noticed I was standing taller, and paying attention to my posture.

I had my ‘a-ha’ moment a few months later when my husband and I were lifting our canoe onto the roof of our car. This had always been a struggle, but this time the canoe went up easily and suddenly I realized I was doing a “Clean and Press” move I’d done in Group Power! I saw that all our lunges, curls, clean and press, etc., were preparing us to move with more strength and grace through our daily life. I was hooked!

Exercising with others made all the difference! The participants had a common goal to get fit and have fun. The support and camaraderie among those in the class was terrific and I had a group to be accountable to. There definitely is power in numbers through group exercise! A couple of years later I had the chance to take a Group Power training and become an instructor, and at 52, I had my first job teaching fitness.

Even if you’ve never lifted a thing, try a class. All moves can be modified to make them more accessible. Weight training is great to strengthen bones, in addition to muscles…so you have

more energy for yourself, and those you love.

As I age into my 60s I find my least flexible muscle is my mind…the thought that I “can’t” do something I’m not good at or not an instant success at is crazy. Don’t be afraid to try something different! We boomers will still be a big demographic bump for the next 30 years or so, and we owe it to ourselves and our kids and grandkids to stay as good as we can, as long as we can!

Dorothy Meyer is a group exercise instructor at Wildwood Athletic Club.

Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter.

If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”