Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Musicians may need extra hearing protection

Everyone knows it can be dangerous to your hearing to go to noisy concerts or blast music in the car, but did you know it can also be harmful to the one playing the music, as well? According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, the most damage comes from high-frequency sounds, such as those produced by violins and violas.

This is especially true for the left ear because it is held close to the instrument during performances. Many violinists face a conundrum because they need to have excellent hearing to adjust the instrument’s pitch levels while playing, yet their hearing is gradually damaged by playing. For non-string instruments like trumpets, experts recommend musicians use mutes to muffle the sound and protect their hearing.

Other musicians, including violinists, have the option of wearing special “vented” ear plugs that help protect the ears without distorting the musician’s perception of the pitch. A doctor on your discount hearing plan can make specialized recommendations to fit your instrument and situation, so protect your hearing by scheduling an appointment before your next performance.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Is your tooth cracked?

Believe it or not, it’s possible to not be aware of a cracked tooth in your mouth. Many cracks are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, or sometimes even an X-ray. To determine which tooth is cracked, dentists often ask patients where they are experiencing sensitivity to temperature as well as sticky, sweet, or sour food. They make also ask where the pain is centralized while chewing. According to the American Dental Association, cracked teeth hurt because “the pressure of biting causes the crack to open.” Once that pressure is released, the crack quickly closes, and the person feels a sharp sensation of pain.

Even further, cracked teeth can cause the pulp inside the tooth to become irritated or even damaged. In advanced cases, a dentist may have to perform a root canal to save the tooth. Treatments for cracks range from bonding to complete extraction, depending on the severity of the crack. Teeth can crack for a variety of reasons, including chewing on hard candy, nuts or ice; uneven chewing pressure; grinding of the teeth; and experiencing an accident that involves a hit to the mouth.

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that the most important thing to remember is that regular dental checkups help prevent tiny cracks from becoming a large problem. If you experience pain or sensitivity in a tooth, do not continue to chew on that side of your mouth. Call your discount dental plan dentist and have him or her identify the source of your pain. Treated early, cracks can be easily repaired without stress to your mouth or your wallet.