A friend of mine who is a federal retiree uses hearing aids. We meet once a month for breakfast at a restaurant, which sometimes can be very noisy, with clanging of pots and dropped dishes. These noises are bothersome to me but when they occur, I can see my friend grimace in pain because of how the noise affects her. The hearing aids magnify the loud noises.

When I received information about a hearing study, I immediately thought of her and decided that there must be many other older adults who experience similar problems with hearing aids and noise. So I thought this column would be a great way to help recruit participants for a current hearing project.

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Through my National Active and Retired Federal Employees chapter president, I received an email from a graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland Hearing Research Laboratory in College Park. They are conducting a study to evaluate how well a new computerized listening training program works in helping hearing aid users better understand speech in noisy listening conditions.

To participate in the study, the following criteria must be met: experienced hearing aid users who have been wearing their hearing aids at least three months; adults ages 35 to 89 years old; and be native American English speakers. Participants come to the lab for pre-testing, the training protocol, post-training testing and then retention testing two months later. The total commitment to the project is about 30 visits, which equates to 40 to 42 hours of participation. Volunteers are reimbursed $10 per hour, up to $500.

What specifically does the research involve? The participant will be seated in a quiet room and will take hearing tests and fill out questionnaires. During the 30-hour computerized training program, the participant will listen to words and sentences in quiet and noise, and identify the words and sentences heard.

The study, funded by National Institutes of Health, is being conducted at the Hearing Research Lab, 0119 LeFrak Hall at the University of Maryland College Park.

If you are interested in more information about the study or would like to participate, contact the Hearing Lab, hearingresearch@hesp.umd.edu or 301-405-7454, and mention the "Hearing Aid Training Study."

Howard County area residents can take advantage of a presentation on "Eating Well = Aging Well" by Dr. Phyllis Famularo, a nutritionist and senior manager for a nationwide food service provider. Sponsored by The Lutheran Village at Miller's Grant, a senior living community in Ellicott City, the talk is on Tuesday, May 20 at 1:30 p.m. at Linden Hall, 4765 Dorsey Hall Drive, in Ellicott City.

Seniors age 60 and over and their adult children can learn "how proper nutrition and the right food choices play a major role in how you feel and perform." Find out how incorporating certain foods into your diet, like garlic, dark chocolate and tomatoes, can help you have a healthier lifestyle. The goal of healthy eating is to reduce the risk for chronic diseases. To register, go to millersgrant.org or call 877-900-6618.

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