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How did the holidays go? Were you able to follow along with the conversations and holiday cheer with your family? Or were you feeling like you were left in silence, not understanding the conversations? If so, it may be time for you to have your hearing checked and start the new year with a new you. Not being able to hear can lead to negative consequences, such as reduced social interactions, depression and cognitive decline. One of the first steps in determining if you need hearing health care is having your hearing checked by a licensed doctor of audiology. This is a quick and painless office visit to determine where your hearing stands. It is always good to have a baseline of where your hearing is, so that you can compare it each year. At age 50, you should have an initial hearing test. If it is determined that there is a hearing loss that can be treated with hearing aids, then your audiologist can discuss your options with you. The sooner your hearing loss is treated, the more successful you will be with hearing aids. If you are on the fence about whether or not you are ready to have your hearing checked, ask yourself the following questions:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Do people seem to mumble or speak in a softer voice than they used to? Do you feel tired or irritable after a lengthy conversation? Do you sometimes miss key words in a sentence or frequently ask people to repeat themselves? When you are in a group or crowded area, is it difficult for you to follow the conversation? Do you need to turn up the TV or radio louder than your family likes? Is carrying on a telephone conversation difficult? Has someone close to you mentioned you may have a problem hearing?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a hearing evaluation could make a difference for you in this new year.

Christa Nelms, Au.D. is a Doctor of Audiology and provider at North Georgia Audiology in Woodstock. She has been practicing since 2000.


TOWNELAKER | January 2018

At What Age Should Botox Treatments Start? BY JAMES HALEY, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

Traditionally, women turned to the youth-restoring practice of Botox treatments beginning in their 40s. More recently, however, the trend has shifted toward a younger age. This is done to not only smooth out wrinkles and flaccid skin, but to prevent the slackening process from happening at all. Technically, there is no magic age to begin treatment - it varies from person to person. A good rule of thumb is to look in the mirror and smile, frown and then relax the face. If significant lines and wrinkles remain while your face is relaxed, you may want to consider preventative treatments. You may notice this occurring at any point between ages 25 and 35. When you begin early Botox administration, the collagen and elasticity breakdown that naturally occurs over the years is inhibited. Muscles that would ordinarily enable wrinkles and lines to form are literally “held still” in a relaxed state. Botox no longer allows these muscles to over-contract in everyday frowns or squints, leaving your skin smooth and taut. Continued treatment allows you to retain a youthful appearance indefinitely, which in turn is great for your self-image! To meet the high demand for Botox, numerous physicians and spas offer Botox injections. Though it is a fairly simple process with little risk, choosing the wrong provider occasionally results in negative effects, such as droopy eye or nerve damage. It is important that you locate an experienced, trained physician. As an OB-GYN who cares for women through all the stages of their lives, I am sympathetic to the fact that women want their outward physical appearance to mirror their inward physical health. Reconstructive surgery, and rejuvenation and cosmetic care are natural extensions for some women’s health care providers. Make sure your doctor is qualified to treat the unique health problems of women, including the “finishing touches” of cosmetic procedures for a youthful appearance.

James Haley, M.D. is a double board certified OB/GYN and urogynecologist with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

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