Ears and Eyes: Important Equipment for Writers

I devote one post every month to health issues for writers, but I certainly hope you take time to be healthy every day. A quick tip on ways to not sit for too long: I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes and write whatever comes to mind. Doesn’t matter the grammar or the sentence structure or worry about ‘will the reader get what I’m trying to say here.’ Then when the timer goes off, I’ll set another timer for 10 minutes and go wash dishes or pick up toys, or vacuum; anything that gets me away from the computer. But, once the 10 minutes are up, even if I’m right in the middle of X activity, I stop and go write for another half hour. – Bren K. from Scribophile.

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On to my main topic, did you know that hairy ears are a sign of healthy ears? On the inside, those little annoying hairs actually trigger nerves that decode sound waves as sound. How cool is that? But these days, thanks to technology, people are losing their hearing at a much earlier age than in centuries past. Thanks to ear buds and super speakers and concerts where screaming will get you though any song the band plays. A nod goes to lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and garbage collection trucks, but those are so periodic as apposed to constant that they don’t really count.

What’s worse is that you can choose to be safe with your ears. Keep the decibels at 60, the level of a normal conversation. Use noise-canceling headphones so you don’t need to crank up your music over the surrounding noise. And just like with sitting, take breaks.

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Why are ears important to writers? A couple reasons come to mind. One is that you learn so much and can be inspired so easily by the world around us. Today while I walked around the local lake, I heard a few notes of such beauty and clarity they nearly made me cry. I never did spot the bird calling with all his heart. Second, computers are going in the direction of voice activation. Dragon Speak is already saving many people with tendonitis and carpal tunnel issues. This article really covers the most risks people take with their hearing. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/5-summertime-tips-for-healthy-ears

Obviously, writers depend on their eyes. So I am sure you get your yearly eye check up if you are 40 or older. And at least every two to three years if you are younger. If you wear corrective lenses, yearly check ups are a good idea, but we are all slaves to what the insurance companies will cover.

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I want to suggest that the longer you go without a full dilated eye exam, the easier it is for glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration to creep up on you. Certain medical conditions in your family history can also put your vision at risk. If you don’t get an exam, and tell the doctor honestly all you know, you won’t be able to catch these issues early.

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This article has great information on ways to improve your home for better eye health and important tips like keeping saline solution in your medicine chest. And most important is the 20-20-20 rule. I also learned a great way to help ease eye strain and possible headaches associated with it. Cup your hands and place them over your eyes. Do not apply any pressure to the actual eye ball. Just give yourself 3 or 4 minutes in darkness, so your pupil will relax and tension will drain away. Doesn’t hurt to take a deep breath at the same time. http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/tips-for-healthy-eyes

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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