Nearly two-thirds of Americans age 70+ have hearing loss. According to a study led by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers, persons of the black race seem to have a protective effect against this loss. And older or male subjects were more likely to have hearing loss or more severe hearing loss than younger or female subjects. It is believed to be the first nationally representative survey of older adults on this often ignored and under-reported condition. Past studies have strongly linked hearing loss to such other health problems as cognitive decline, dementia, and poorer physical function. . Relatively little is known about risk factors that drive hearing loss. [Feb. 28, 2011 Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences]
Tinnitus in the elderly is prevalent and impacts quality of life. According to another research, it is associated with such treatable health conditions as otitis media, rhinosinusitis, head injury, and hypertension. Nearly 36 million Americans suffer from tinnitus or head noises. It may be an intermittent sound or an annoying continuous sound in one or both ears. These researchers found a significant difference between the prevalence of tinnitus among "young elderly" subjects aged 65-69 (6.5%), and the older (80+ years) group (41.9 %). [October 2010 Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.] the September 17 San Francisco Chronicle carries an encouraging report of a tinnitus discovery that could lead to new ways to stop the ringing.
Despite the overwhelming number of older adults with hearing loss, only one-fifth use hearing aids. And only 3 percent of those with mild hearing loss take advantage of these devices.
In 1932 The Man Who Played God
was advertised as “a modern drama from real life.” George Arliss played Montgomery Royale, a concert pianist when a bomb explosion ends his career. He moves to New York
with his sister, fiancée (played by Bette Davis), and a close friend. After abandoning thoughts of suicide
, he discovers he can lipread
. He spends his days observing people in the park from his apartment across the street. He learns of their problems, tries to help them anonymously, and becomes absorbed in his playing God game. I cried during the part where he supposedly lipreads a conversation during which fiancée tells some man that she loves him but cannot leave Montgomery because of his handicap. Montgomery ends their engagement, allowing her to follow her heart.
In 1955 Hollywood did it again, this time with fewer implausible ingredients. Sincerely Yours starred Liberace as Tony Warrin – popular pianist who plays any style and has money, great clothes, penthouse overlooking Central Park, rich blond fiancée, loyal brunette secretary secretly in love with him, and a date at Carnegie Hall. On concert night, disease deafens him. He learns lipreading and, using high-powered binoculars, eavesdrops on conversations across the street in the park. When he finds people in need, he intercedes with aid. Fiancée falls in love with another man, secretary quits, doctors give him new hope. Da-dah.
Lipreading is watching the lips to extract whatever speech information one can, whereas speechreading is watching the lips, tongue, teeth, cheeks, eyes, facial expressions, gestures, body language and anything else that gives clues as to what the other person is saying. Thus, speechreading encompasses lipreading and a lot more.
To appreciate how difficult lipreading is and how much of the articulation of normal speech is not visible to an observer, it helps to watch an online video of a person speaking, “Human Articulators in Action.” (Simply Google that title.) When a normal person speaks, the tongue moves in at least 3 locations (tip, middle and back), and the soft palate rises and falls. All of these articulatory gestures are phonetically significant, changing the speech sound produced in important ways, but they are invisible to the lipreader.
It has been estimated that only 30% to 40% of sounds in the English language are distinguishable in most English dialects from sight alone. The phrase "where there's life, there's hope" appears identical to "where's the lavender soap."
Chicago Sun-Times editor and critic Henry Kisor, following meningitis as a child, became totally deaf. His autobiography title, What's That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness, references mis-hearing the question, "What's that big loud noise?" He uses this example to discuss the shortcomings of speechreading. “The term ‘lipreading’ itself is technically a misnomer, for the act involve much more than merely watching movements of the lips… Broken into its components, lipreading seems an almost impossible circus trick, like juggling Indian clubs while spinning a dinner plate on one’s forehead.”
Exaggerated mouthing of words is not helpful and may in fact obscure useful clues when conversing with a speechreader. Other difficulties may include: lack of a clear view of the speaker's lips, moustaches or hands in front of the mouth, the speaker's head turned aside or away, a bright light source such as a window behind the speaker, and group discussions, especially when multiple people are talking in quick succession.
There’s good news. People who play music all their lives, even as a hobby, suffer less hearing loss as they age than do nonmusicians. A new study reports that, while being a musician does not give a person super hearing, it does offer a protective benefit against cognitive decline in processing sounds. According to Universite de Montreal research fellow Benjamin Rich Zendel, “The age-related changes in auditory processing decline at a slower rate in musicians compared to nonmusicians,.. Think of the catch phrase ‘use it or lose it.’ They use their hearing at a much higher level than the average person.” The average musician at age 70 was able to understand speech in a noisy environment as well as an average 50-year-old non-musician.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss, a person may be deemed hearing impaired, even disabled. A related condition is loss of balance, which can involve falling. Bathrooms are one of the most fall-prone spaces. Slippery floors, especially polished wood (as in Alta Bates Hospital and the new North Berkeley Walgreens) are also problematic. Likewise any senior/disabled housing lacking corridor railings on both sides of every floor! Friday, September 23 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
‘Not a day goes by…’ declares lyricist Stephen Sondheim. And it’s how I feel about my California Telephone! The Deaf & Disabled Telecommunication Program is a lifesaver. When I began to lose my hearing, the audiologist handed me a signed form validating my condition and listing locations where I could get one of these gems as well as instruction in its use. Piece of cake.
If you need an amplified phone, TTY, or other specialized telephone for your personal use, you can initiate the free and easy application process yourself. Go to ddtp.cpuc.ca.gov/ and print out an application form. Or, if you’re not into computers, request a certification form by mail or phone in your language by writing/phoning the State of California CTAP Contact Center at P.O. Box 30310 in Stockton, CA 95213 or 1-800-806-1191. Spanish: 1-800-949-5650; TTY: 1-800-806-4474; Mandarin: 1-866-324-8747, etc. etc.
Part of this process requires the signature of one of several types of professionals authorized by the State of California. Licensed physicians, including Veterans Administration physicians, may sign for people with any disability. Clinical audiologists may sign for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you don’t have an audiologist or otolaryngologist (ear-nose-throat M.D.) on the string, initiate this process yourself. On Friday, September 23 at 11 A.M., there will be a free California Telephone Access program at South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street (corner of Ashby), Berkeley. 510- 981-5170. (Phone to confirm.)
California LifeLine is another godsend program. It provides discounted basic telephone (landline) services to eligible California households. For information, call 1-877-858-7463.
The Alameda County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) periodically conducts a survey to document current needs, concerns and resources within the County’s age 55+ population. The survey helps the AAA identify and provide support for senior services in Alameda County. If you are age 55+ and live in Alameda County, take a few moments to complete the survey that is available online (Google ‘Alameda County Senior Needs Assessment’), OR inquire at your senior center.
A new report released jointly today by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation shows some states significantly out-perform others in the delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS) to older adults and family caregivers. The “Scorecard of State Performance on Long-Term Services and Supports Finds Wide Variation in Care and Support for Older Adults, Family Caregivers, and People with Disabilities” ranks the 51 states in terms of Affordability and access, Choice of setting and provider, Quality of life and quality of care, and Support for family caregivers. Ranking number 1 in all categories is Minnesota; lowest is Mississippi. California is not bad: number 15 and in the second quartile.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September and October 2011. Call to confirm, date, time and place. Readers are welcome to share news of events that may interest boomers and seniors. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, Sept. 21. 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. Kittredge @ Shattuack. 510-981-6100. Free.
Wednesday, Sept. 21. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. Faculty Recital: Michael Orland, piano.
Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Sept. 21. 12:30 P.M. Annual Ice Cream Social. Reservation required. $2. per person paid in advance. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1 P.M. Gray Panthers meeting. North Berkeley Senior Center,
2001 Hearst, corner MLK. 510-548-9696 and 486-8010.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging meets at a senior center, probably North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, corner MLK. #25 AC bus stops at the NBSC. Phone to confirm location. 510-981-5190. 510-981-5200.
Wednesday, Sept. 21. 1:30 P.M. – 3 P.M. League of Women Voters hosts a free forum at the Central Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. Discussion of senior citizens’ transportation needs: “Senior Mobility and the Silver Tsunami; An Educational Forum.” 510-839-1608. www.bayareamonitor.org
Thursday, Sept. 22. 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. Albany Senior Center Open House. Food, entertainment. 846 Masonic Av. 510-524-9122.
Thursday, Sept. 22. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Berkeley Public Library, West branch, University above San Pablo. 510-981-6270. Free.
Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:30 P.M. Music Appreciation. William Sturm, Instructor. Piano recital and discussion on “The Sonata Form: Building Blocks of Music”. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda 510-747-7506.
Thursday, Sept. 22. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library, West branch. University above San Pablo. 510-981-6270. Free.
Friday, Sept. 23 Final day to vote for North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council members. 1901 Hearst, corner MLK. 510-981-5190.
Friday, Sept. 23. 11 A.M. – 12 Noon California Telephone Access Program Deaf & Disabled Telecommunications program. South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. 510-981-5170.
Saturday, Sept. 24. 10 A.M. OWL San Francisco General Meeting: Issues on the November SF ballot. Meeting co-sponsored by Senior Action Network and AAUW. 870 Market St.. Market St. buses; Powell St. BART. 415-989-4422 email@example.com
Sunday, Sept. 25. All day. UC,B campus, Zellerbach Hall. Fall Free for All. Music, dance, and theater for the whole community. Plus an instrument petting zoo, demonstrations, CD signings with the artists, good things to eat. No tickets required. 510-642-9988.
Sunday, Sept. 25. 1:30 P.M. Book Into Film: The Last Station. Central Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. Registration required 510-981-6236. Free.
Monday, Sept. 26. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. BerkeleyPublic Library, Central. Kittredge @ Shattuck. 510-981-6100. Free.
Monday, Sept. 26. 7 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 ArlingtonAve. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with brief discussion following. New members welcome. 510-524-3043.
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. “Getting the Most From Your Doctor’s Visit.” Lecture by Patient Advocate Linda Garvin, RN, MSN. Register in the Mastick Office or call 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Sept 27, 3 P.M. Tea & Cookies Book Club. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Kittredge @ Shattuck. 510-981-6100. Free
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group. 6510 Stockton. Come to one or all discussions. Let the Great World Spin, novel by Colum McMcCann. 510-526-7512.
Tuesday, Sept. 27. 7 P.M. Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St. at Taylor, # 1. 27 buses. 415-749-6300, 6348, 6369. Worthy cause, but not free and no senior discount.
Wednesday, Sept. 28. 12 Noon. Playreaders at Central Berkeley Public Library. Kittredge @ Shattuck. 510-981-6100. Free
Wednesday, Sept. 28. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Symphony Orchestra - David Milnes, conductor. Ligeti: Lontano. Korngold: Violin Concerto, Ernest Yen, soloist. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Sept. 28. 1 P.M. Urquhart Memorial Concert Band conducted by Joel Toste / Cultural Events class. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Morrison's Song of Solomon. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16.
Thursday, Sept. 29. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Public Library. Kittredge @ Shattuck. 510-981-6100. Free.
Monday, Oct. 3. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 17 and 24.
Tuesday, Oct. 4. (11, 18, 25). 11 A.M. – 12 Noon. Self-Acupressure & Reflexology Class. Helen Calhoun, Certified Acupressurist. 4-week classs. $3 per session or $12 for 4 sessions. Preregistration. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Oct. 4. 1 P.M. Mastick Book Club members review The Particular
Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. 510-747-7506, 747-7510.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 9 A.M. – 1:30 P.M. AARP Driver Safety Refresher Course.
Designed for motorists who are 50+, taught in one-day. To be eligible, you must have taken the standard course within the last 4 years. Preregistration required. $12 per person fee for AARP members; $14 per person fee
for non-AARP members. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Felicia Chen, soprano; Daniel Alley, piano. Jason Yu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Balance Your Walk with the Alexander Technique. Lenka Fejt, certified teacher. This 6-part workshop on the Alexander Technique has begun. Prepaid fee of $60. 510-747-7506. Also Oct. 12.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 - 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.. Also Oct. 12 and 19.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 6 P.M. – 8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call 510-526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Thursday, Oct. 6. 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. Lavender Seniors of the East Bay’s Annual Aging in Place Symposium & Resource Fair for Older Adults. Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro. Refreshments, entertainment. Free. Dan Ashbrook at 510-667-9655 Ext 1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Oct. 6. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library South branch. 1901 Russell. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 13.
Mondays, Oct. 10, 17, 24. 11:10 A.M. – 1 P.M. Introduction to Video Production. Jeff Cambra, producer of the Mastick movie, instructor. Learn to use a video
camera, script writing, storyboarding, basic lighting and sound to
produce a newscast and a short documentary. No experience required. Equipment provided. Graduate to the advanced class on October 31, 1:00 P.M.-3:00 P.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Oct. 11. 1 P.M. Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
Marilyn Ababio and Dorothy Ridley, POLST representatives inform about POLST, a form that spells out the medical treatment you desire during the end of your life + question and answer period. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Wednesday, Oct. 12. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Andrea Wu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 12. 6:30 P.M. – 8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshops. Free. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720.
Thursday, Oct. 13. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 20 and 27.
Thursday, Oct. 13. 10:30 A.M. New Member Orientation & YOU! Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Guided tour outlining the various activities, programs, and services, and a coupon to enjoy a complimentary lunch provided by Bay Area Community Services (BACS)! Make a reservation by visiting the Mastick Office or calling 510-747-7506.
Saturday, Oct. 15. 11 A.M. Landlord/Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. 510-2090 Kittredge. 510- 981-6100.
Monday, Oct. 17. 9:30 A.M.- 12:30 P.M. Beaded Jewelry Making. Rose O’Neill, Custom Jewelry Designer. Beads and tools will be supplied unless you would like to go “green” and redesign beads already in your possession. Limited to 10 students. $15 per person. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506. (Also Mondays, Nov 21 and Dec 19.)
Monday, Oct. 17. 2 P.M.-3:30 P.M. Queue Rolo, M.A., M.S., Museum Studies, SFSU, will present “W.A.Leidesdorff: America’s 1st Black Millionaire.” Free for OLLI and Mastick Senior Center members. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Oct. 18. 12:30 P.M. San Francisco Gray Panthers General Meeting: Program to be announced. Location: Fireside Room, Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin St. at Geary, # 38 bus. 415-552-8800. email@example.com, http://graypantherssf.igc.org/
Wednesday, Oct. 19. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Gospel Chorus - Another Day's Journey. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 19. 1:30 P.M. Alameda County Library San Lorenzo branch, 395 Paseo Grande. 510-670-6283. Social Security Administration Public Affairs Specialist Mariaelena Lemus will address older adults’ questions and present information specifically for them. Program repeats at other branches through December. No reservations required. Free. Library Older Adult Services at 510-745-1491.
Wednesday, Oct. 19. 7 P.M. The Bookeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King. Book discussion. Alameda County Library Albany Branch, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720.
(On Sunday, Oct. 23 @ 2 PM, the author will read and talk. Albany Community Center.)
Thursday, Oct. 20. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library West branch. 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Oct. 27.
Mondays, Oct. 24, 26 and 31. 10A.M. – 12 Noon. Oliver Guinn, Ph.D Economics, returns to teach “Our Damaged Economy: The Financial Meltdown and Economic Inequality.” Free. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Oct. 25. 1 P.M. AC Transit and YOU! Representatives from United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County will inform about the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount Card Program and the Clipper Card, route changes, and the 10-year AC Transit Fare Policy. Refreshments. Free. MastickSenior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Oct. 25. 3 - 4 P.M. Tea and Cookies. Central Berkeley Public Library. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Wednesday, Oct. 26. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Tony Lin, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 26. 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Roman Fever, Edith Wharton short story. Facilitated discussion. Books available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16.
Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26/Sacramentoand 27/South San Francisco, 2011 .
"Dementia Care Without Drugs - A Better Approach for Long-term Care Facilities" symposia about misuse of psychotropic drugs as treatment for dementia, difficulty in managing dementia treatment, and non-pharmacological approaches to care. CANHR staff attorney Tony Chicotel presentation, "Stop Drugging Our Elders!" California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform http://www.canhr.org. 415-974-5171. Fax 415-777-2904.
Thursday, Oct. 27. 12:30 P.M. Celebrating a birthday in October? Cake, music,
balloons, and good cheer. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. . 510-747-7506.
Thursday, Oct. 27 1 P.M.- 3 P.M. Fall Dance…Halloween Stomp. Come in costume
to be eligible for “best costume award”, enjoy door prizes, and refreshments. Volunteers enter free with volunteer badge. Cost is $2.00 per person. . Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. . 510-747-7506.
Thursday, Oct. 27 1:30 P.M. Music Appreciation with William Sturm, Volunteer Instructor. Piano recital and discussion on “The Sceptered Isle: Music of England”. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7506.
Saturday, Oct. 29. 12:15 P.M. Halloween Bingo Bash. Patrons will receive a free Halloween dauber (ink marker) compliments of Center Advisory Board and Bingo Committee. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. with the first game at 12:15 P.M. 18 years of age+ are welcome. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av. 510-747-7506.