Remember when I wrote that I thought people my age have lousy hearing because we went to too many “Strawberry Alarm Clock” concerts when we were in college? That was several columns ago and I think I was serving a warning to all those people younger than me that you should all watch what you put in your ears because you could end up having to buy one of those hearing aid implements they advertise on television. You know what I’m talking about – the commercial that shows how you can finally hear the birds chirp as you walk the Greenbelt or hear what that couple across the room is saying about you! Attention Boomers and Others Who Can’t Hear Very Well! Our Big City Newspaper has finally cleared up the reason for our hearing loss. It wasn’t the raucous rock concerts that pierced our eardrums and destroyed our hearing or the iPods that almost everybody has in their ears. No, it’s my brain’s dimmer switch – the “thingy in my brain” that controls what I hear – really! If you don’t believe me, I’ve got the Chronicle article right here in front of me. The article says this hearing loss “…creeps in during middle age…and affects one-third of adults between 65 and 75.” The article doesn’t say anything about the effects of iPods or even loud rock concerts in your youth. It does say that the “…dimmer switch that controls input from your ears…appears to falter as we get older…” and scientists are trying to figure out why. I thought it was because the music was blasting in my ears but the scientist quoted in this article is using “…genetically-altered mice to focus his studies on parts of the dimmer switch circuitry…” I guess it seems obvious to us mortals that noise – whether it’s music or a stadium full of rabid Nebraska foot ball fans -- would, well, hurt your hearing. I remember in my college days walking away from Memorial Stadium on Football Saturday with no hearing except for a buzz in my ears. It went away after a few days and, if you dropped by Duffy’s Tavern in downtown Lincoln, right after the game you wouldn’t even notice the buzz in your ears! It’s sad when you find yourself collecting health articles out of the newspaper or off the Internet. Reminds me of my early days in the work force when I’d have lunch with co-workers – all much older than me – who would talk for hours about their aches and pains, all based on articles they’d clipped out of the Omaha World Herald. “How boring,” I thought. Who wants to spend day after day at lunchtime comparing notes about cures for illnesses? Guess what? I clipped an article from a couple of weeks ago and spent an entire column writing about hope for those of us who can’t seem to hear the high notes or the low notes. I’ve actually caught myself paying attention to those television infomercials – especially on weekends. These are the “make-believe” news sets with the talking head “experts” discussing some amazing miracle product now reduced to $19.99 that cures acne, firms up your sagging neckline, gives you six-pack abs thanks to a magical pill and even fades away those dark circles around your eyes caused by attending too many rock concerns on school nights. And since we’re on the subject of cures for ailment, has anybody tried that “colon cleansing” product that’s been advertised on radio and television? No kidding! I noticed it the first time when I was on the treadmill at a health club in San Antonio over Christmas. It not only cleans you out, it flattens your stomach, gets rid of gas and bloating, eliminates fatigue and brightens your skin and hair. Amazing! That’s why I was on the treadmill. Now, I don’t know how in the world it does all that – but that’s what the guy on the radio says. And thank goodness my cell phone was in my locker or I would have called that “800” number right there on the treadmill! Look at it this way. If that cleanse stuff does everything the television commercials says it does, who knows, all that cleansing may even help my hearing!

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