How Ibuprofen Can Lead to Hearing Loss

Did you know you can stop taking certain medications so you can avoid further hearing loss? It’s true, thanks to a new study. Ibuprofen is a pain killer that can hurt your hearing, so be careful when taking it. Hearing loss is a common side effect for those getting on in years, but you don’t have to fall victim to it. Now, avoiding certain medications can help you protect your hearing health as you age. Of course, you should still stay away from noisy situations such as concerts and long-term noise exposure such as those found in clubs.

What to Do

Scientists don’t really know for sure why medicines like naproxen don’t affect hearing loss while ibuprofen does. Get your doctor’s OK before taking ibuprofen so you’re aware of the potential side effects regarding hearing loss. Read all labels beforehand, as you’ll find ibuprofen in several cold and sinus medications found over the counter. You can still take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for your pain relief needs but if you’re concerned about hearing loss, talk to your doctor. Or, you could use a different kind of medicine like naproxen.

Causes

It’s good to know you can better your hearing if you stop taking certain medications. Consult with your doctor to find out what’s best for your particular situation. So how do pain relievers such as ibuprofen cause hearing loss? They restrict blood flow to the inner ear’s cochlea so that it doesn’t work like it should. When you take acetaminophen, especially, you can really damage the ear structures that are there to protect your cochlea. Tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo can all be worsened by ibuprofen, which has been proven by other studies. Certain analgesics can hurt your kidneys as well as your ears, leading to ototoxicity. While researchers have already connected this link with ibuprofen and hearing loss in men thanks to previous studies, this new study has proven the same happens in females. Those who take Ibuprofen for pain relief may also experience fuzzy and unclear sounds if they have a cochlear implant.

Conclusive Findings

Recent findings thanks to the American Journal of Advanced Epidemiology, we now know over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can bring on hearing loss in women. The study showcase about 60,000 women over a period of 14 years. The conclusion was that a quarter of those women who ingested ibuprofen and acetaminophen several times a week found a lowering of their hearing ability.

More Research

More research must be done. Other factors that affect hearing loss include hormones, diet and alcohol consumption along with ibuprofen. You can also increase your chances if you exposure yourself to loud noises over a long period of time. To answer this call, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is studying 150,000 women across the nation to determine all the factors that can contribute to hearing loss.

How Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Holiday Gatherings

Everyone loves to get together at the holidays. However, for the hearing impaired, this could pose a challenge. While many around the country will gather together and have a harmonious time in one another’s company, people who suffer from hearing loss will not have such an easy time with one another. Hearing loss can truly affect many aspects of a person’s overall happiness and health. Let’s check out the effects of hearing loss on social happiness, how to manage hearing loss, and also how to help people who suffer from hearing loss.

What Can We Do About Hearing Loss In The Holidays?

You may be at a loss as to how to treat someone with a hearing impairment. Bring them over and make sure that everyone completely understands their situation. Break the ice any way you can and build the room’s conversations around them in order to build their confidence. Also, you can be sure to help people with hearing loss by making sure that you are speaking to them loudly and slowly depending on their overall preferences. Take a person-first approach to their needs.

The first thing you can do is work through the basic barrier of isolation that these people with hearing loss put up. You can invite your hard of hearing family members to events and make them incredible welcome in your home. While the hearing loss can have a huge impact on the way that people approach and celebrate the holidays, there are ways that you can do something about it.

Another way that you can combat hearing loss is by consulting a hearing specialist. These specialized medical professionals can work to the advantage of their patients by giving them the ability to examine possible hearing solutions available to them. After all the best way to help integrate family and friends with a more active community is being sure that they can actually hear conversations as they are happening. A hearing specialist will typically offer two great ways to go about helping your hearing- surgical options and device solutions. Surgery can repair the physical structures of the ear that have been harmed throughout your life. For hearing devices, there have been many advances in technology that have allowed hearing aid devices to give an incredible amount of hearing back to the patients. With all of these means, hearing specialists are able to help people with their overall hearing health and with making the most out of the holidays.

Hearing Loss Problems

The side effects of hearing loss are largely social. This is significant in terms of hearing loss during the holidays because, more than anything else, the holidays are a time to gather with your close family and friends. If you cannot communicate with these people that you love, it can cause some significant effects on your overall sense of well-being. For example, people who suffer from hearing loss are much more likely to have issues with depression as well as anxiety. After all, not being able to take part in the holiday festivities is enough to get anyone feeling the holiday blues. This is only compounded by the fact that hearing loss may stop people from even going out and participating in any form of family activity in the first place. This social isolation will result in other problems in life as well, and can show themselves in health problems such as brain damage and even dementia later on.

How Hearing Aids are Programmed

Your hearing aid should gel to your ears and yours alone, taking into account your existing hearing capabilities. Thus, no two hearing aids are exactly alike because everyone has customized features that are dependent on the specific degree of hearing loss, comfort level and other personal considerations will. This is why you must have your hearing aid programmed to your ears rather than take a one-size fits all approach. This process is performed by a certified audiologist. Just like you wouldn’t fit any lenses into your frames without the help of an ophthalmologist, you’ll have to get your hearing aid programmed by an audiologist.

Programming Hearing Aids

The hearing aids of today are able to help with noise reduction and feedback reduction algorithms. You’ll find that several doctors use a surround sound system in order to simulate real noise from the outside environment and make adjustments based on feedback in real time. This surround sound system approach, while it can simulate crowd noises and help the doctor adjust noise reduction factors, is valuable too because it offers unparalleled troubleshooting capabilities. A hearing aid, with the ability to be customized to the individual, must incorporate real ear measurements, as well as visual mapping and environmental simulations. Real-ear probe microphones, which pick on the sounds that are hitting the eardrum, assists the doctor in more accurately programming the device. Visible speech mapping (VSM) shows how various sounds of speech hit the eardrum and process sound, a state of the art alternative to traditional measurements. Your doctor should have access to the right hardware, software and cables to connect to the hearing aid so the programming process can be a success. While some people actually know how to program their own hearing aids, this can be an expensive way to go about it. Plus, you could be doing yourself a disservice if you attempt it yourself. See a professional instead.

What Factors can be Adjusted?

Audiologists take many components into account when they program your hearing aid, prompting them to adjust anything from volume, frequency and intensity levels, to compression ratios, maximum output of power and noise reduction. They can also incorporate microphone usage. For example, doctors can tweak a setting that’s just too sensitive to noise so the user feels the most comfortable. You’ll also be glad to know that many devices can also filter out the din of background noise.

Processing Time

Older hearing devices were pretty easy to operate and adjust, typically with just a screwdriver. Now you’re able to personalize hundreds of elements within digital hearing aids to match the hearing needs of the individual. Programming depends on various subjective preferences thanks to a thorough hearing evaluation. Adjustments often happen on an ongoing basis as the user troubleshoots preferences in the real world. You wouldn’t just buy a mattress or a car without trying it out first, right? Same with hearing aids. Users may return to the office with suggestions on what they would like to incorporate. The brain can’t immediately adjust to the new sounds emitted by the device. This is why much time is needed to evaluate different listening situations, such as crowd noise that you just can’t achieve in an office setting. Digital hearing aids are the best option available today, thanks to this innovative trouble shooting approach.

Brain Hearing Restores Optimal, Natural Hearing

Over the last 10 to 15 years, hearing aids have been breaking through barriers. Hearing aids that were once bulky, expensive, and ineffective are now compact, affordable, and capable of reproducing the subtleties of natural sound.

What has happened is, hearing aid technology is advancing faster than hearing aid reputation, and many people continue to associate hearing aids with the ugly, massive contraptions of the past. It’s not just better technology that makes them work, but a fundamental change in the overall approach to research and design – a new approach researchers are calling “brain hearing.”  Nevertheless, in sharp contrast to their older ancestors, modern hearing aids are sleek and nearly invisible – and most importantly, they work as they should.

How you can benefit from brain hearing

At this point, you may be asking yourself how you can get your hands (and ears) on this new brain hearing technology. While hearing aids are not off-the-shelf products and need to be professionally fitted and programmed, the process is likely to be easier than you think.

The first step is to schedule a hearing test with any board-certified audiologist. Next, your audiologist will precisely measure your hearing loss, using that information in the custom programming of your new state-of-the-art hearing aid. Enjoying the sounds of life again is the best benefit of them all so that you’re free from the burdens of hearing loss.

So what is brain hearing, exactly?

Did you know that sound actually occurs in the brain, and not in the ears. Traditional hearing aids, designed with the ears in mind, tend to amplify any and all sounds, pushing through a mass of noise directly to the brain. The result is terrible sound quality that causes the brain to become overwhelmed and fatigued. And that, unfortunately, sums up the majority of the history of hearing aids.

By taking into account the entire hearing process, brain hearing research is leading to the development of some incredible hearing aids. Researchers now know that the processing of sound within the brain, and quality of the signal the brain receives, are just as important as the amplification of sound in the ear.

How do brain-focused hearing aids work?

By maintaining a natural, clear signal that is full of detail, brain-focused hearing aids work with the brain’s four key functions used to make sense of the sound it receives:

  1. Spatial recognition – brain hearing preserves the difference in sound between the two ears, allowing for the ability to accurately locate sounds.

  2. Sound filtering – brain hearing preserves the ability to identify and separate relevant information from background noise.

  3. Speech recognition – brain hearing preserves the natural characteristics of speech, making it easier to focus on conversations and switch between speakers.

  4. Sound focusing – brain hearing preserves the ability to focus on relevant sounds and speech, even in noisy environments with abrupt changes in background noise.

Improved hearing aid performance is a result of brain hearing. By changing only the sounds that the inner ear cannot already hear well, the natural quality of sound is preserved, and the brain is not fatigued and overwhelmed with unnecessary amplification.

Consumers love brain-focused hearing aids

Brain hearing is certainly making a splash. Companies like Oticon, a global leader in the hearing industry, are currently producing brain-focused hearing aids and receiving outstanding feedback. This company reports that while average hearing instrument user satisfaction is 79%, user satisfaction associated with one of its brain-focused hearing aids is 96%.

“BrainHearing is a natural evolution of Oticon’s long-standing commitment to putting the needs of People First,” says Søren Nielsen, President of Oticon. “This comes back to our research from our Eriksholm research facility, where we have understood that treating hearing loss is much more than presenting sound through amplification. We have known for some years that the brain has a unique ability to process sound if it receives a robust signal that is full of detail.”

 

How Cell Phones Are Revolutionizing The Hearing Aid Industry

Just exactly how are cell phones representing a major shift in the hearing aid industry? Well, for starters, they now have state of the art technology to accommodate the growing needs of their hearing impaired customers. For several years, hearing aid devices have dominated the market and have helped hearing impaired individuals hear more clearly every day. That’s still true. But now, cell phones and smart phones are getting in on the game as well. Cell phones can help these people go about their day with safety and confidence because they know they can rely on their devices for assistance. One of the latest forms of this technology comes in the form of cell phones, offering a great way to help people suffering from hearing loss.

Here we learn about why cell phones continue to revolutionize the use of modern day hearing aids for those who have varying degrees of hearing loss.

Cell Phone Technological Advancements

Most cell phones today feature a T3 or T4 standard. What does this mean? It means they have met or exceeded the overall power and efficiency that they are required to have in order to function well with the hearing impaired. This is punctuated by the fact that several new advancements recently made in both the hardware and software of cell phones have begun to come out in the assistance of hearing impaired individuals. Sufferers of hearing loss, in turn, experience a far greater range of accessibility to their cell phone. To put this into perspective, many modern cell phones come with a telecoil, which that is responsible for changing magnetic signals from the phone into sound signals that can be interpreted by the user. This occurs when the telecoil and the cell phone are used in conjunction.

Smart Phones- Leading The Way

Smart phones have powerful components that allow them to run many helpful applications. This aids hearing impaired individuals, making them feel safe and secure in their daily lives. Did you know that some apps have the capability of locating active subtitles for a movie a user wants to watch, or even a syndicated television program on TV? Two other ways in which these phones can also alert users is via a phone call or text with blinking LED lights to garner immediate attention. They can also help through vibrations when a message or phone call or text is received so the user can count on their device to notify them.

Static and noise cancelling technology inherent in the latest models is yet another way that people who use hearing aids are taking advantage of using smart phones. What happens? Using a hearing aid together with a cell phone will not result in feedback or static, giving the user complete clarity while in use. Known as hearing aid capability, or HAC, this means hearing impaired people can learn their device’s capabilities before they spend their hard earned money. Smart phones have been dominating the market with superior technology built right in. Just like regular cell phones, these devices often feature high-level telecoils built into the device itself. This is a revolutionary way of being able to hear better each and every day using a crucial device to today’s communication.

Electric Cochlear Implants: Functions and Benefits

With several technologies available to hearing impaired people, electric cochlear implants go beyond the traditional hearing aid to offer something superior to those with profound hearing loss. It’s true that hearing aids are the most common and popular option for hearing loss, but they don’t readily address the worst of hearing problems suffered by many people. To address that need, cochlear implants are becoming even more popular in both adults and children, not just in the United States but all over the world. These devices, unlike traditional hearing aids, are actually anchored to the person’s skull to make a bypass which allows sound wave to be interpreted by the auditory nerve. However, just like hearing aids, they come with many advantageous benefits that we will check out in the following article.

What Makes A Cochlear Implant?

Most of the components of a cochlear implant are located on the outside of the ear, but some are situated under the skin and behind the ear. There are many diverse parts to a cochlear implant. The microphone, speech processor, and a transmitter comprise the external parts of the device, while the receiver and an electrode cluster comprise the parts implanted under the skin. They all work together to seamlessly sharpen sound for the wearer.

How Do Cochlear Implants Function?

The future looks bright for cochlear implants as more and more advances to the technology are emerging. The electric cochlear implant operates via the use of all four components in conjunction with one another. It has the ability to recreate sound waves to simulate hearing. The microphone on the outside of the ear detects sounds, then passes them on to the speech processor that sits near the microphone. This can also be worn elsewhere on the body. This is where the interpretation and digitization of sound occurs in order for it to be detected by the transmitter. The transmitter gives the signals to the receiver underneath the skin which sends along all of the signals to the cluster of electrodes already implanted into the cochlea. This sits behind the ear and under the skin, where electrodes activate special fibers on the auditory nerve. The wearer is then able to experience simulated sound waves.

Benefits of Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implant allow people to hear better with more clarity and consistency than ever before. Though these devices can cost a lot, the advantages they offer make electric cochlear implants one of the most integral hearing devices history has ever known. Ideal for people young and old who suffer from a high degree of hearing loss than cannot be addressed through a simple hearing aid, these devices can more clearly pick up on sounds such as speech and even differentiate crowd noise. This helps the user feel safe in his or her environment no matter what they encounter during their day.

Advancements in Digital Hearing Aids

When it comes to state-of-the-art hearing aids, digital ones take the cake. Today’s hearing aids can remove distracting background noise for a clearer listening experience, but this isn’t the only advancement that’s come along, though. While some are available with remote controls that allow the user to adjust various settings, others come with omni-directional microphones to detect sound from multiple directions. Most hearing aids manufactured today are digital and there are many reasons for that. These state of the art devices utilize the latest technology to provide filtration of background noise, connections to Bluetooth devices and provide automatic volume adjustment. Hearing aids have progressed a lot since the 1800s, which is when the first ear trumpets arrived on the scene. Since then, the advancements have come fast one after another, going from analog to digital in the present day. These devices make it easy for audiologists to program each device according to the user’s specific degree of hearing loss.

Self-Learning

It’s not just your phones that are “smart.” Digital hearing aids are great for adjusting settings like volume automatically after a period of time according to how the user prefers it. Control is put into the hands of the person wearing it, which is yet another advancement.

Self-learning hearing aids are integral to modern devices because they have self-learning or regulating tendencies.

Single Sided Deafness

Technologies like CROS devices and bone conduction devices allow the good ear to receive signals from the bad ear to improve on amplification. Prior to big advancements in digital technology, people who had single-sided deafness had to deal with the frustration of background noise and were relegated to using their “good ear” to hear conversation.

Noise Filtration

Many manufacturers are implementing brand new technology through the use of digital magnetic wireless communication via chips in the devices that control settings like switch position and microphone modes. One huge complaint users of hearing aids have historically made is that it’s difficult to hear clearly with all the background noise. Older hearing aids amplified all sound, which was great for hearing words but this also presented an added challenge of filtering out the background noise that was also amplified. Today’s hearing aids can easily filter out that noise so that the user can hear words but not all the other stuff. Improvements in wireless technology have allowed for improved speech recognition and SNR, which stands for signal-to-noise ratio. Recent advancements mean hearing aids can actually communicate with each other, especially when it comes to left and right ear instruments.

Better Connections

People wearing digital hearing aids benefit from digital noise reduction and better frequency transposition due to improvements in digital hearing aids. They can also enjoy increased range. Hooking up to Bluetooth and other wireless technological services is par for the course now.

DNR

Digital noise reduction technology utilizes even better technology that incorporates directional microphones. This is because there is a concentration on the physical characteristics of noise and speech instead of the separation of space, taking into account factors like speech modulation.

The First Digital Hearing Aids

The first digital hearing aids featured DSP, ideal for digital noise reduction. DSPs, which stand for digital signal processing, first emerged onto the scene in 1996. They were great for boosting processing speeds which improved the ability to hear as well as the range of amplification for individuals wearing the hearing aid.

The Outlook

The future is here! For more flexibility and better overall results, hearing impaired individuals can count on digital hearing aids to take advantage of innovative wireless technology and microelectronics. As such, the future for digital hearing aids looks positive, as the technology will only continue to expand through the decades.

10 Ways Good Hearing can Help Keep Seniors Young

Make sure you don’t fall victim to hearing loss and you can experience a healthier social life, cutting your chance of falls and boosting your self-confidence. While you probably realize already that maintaining top-notch physical fitness during your senior years is important to keeping a good level of health, reducing the chance of anything from stroke to diabetes to cancer, you may not be aware that good hearing health can boost your youth and vitality. Here are some ways in which good hearing can help you maintain your youth.

  1. Increased job performance and job prospects. If your hearing is lacking, you naturally can’t hear important instructions or safety precautions, or participate readily in colleague discussions or meetings. This can affect your job performance or edge you out of your profession.

  2. Higher level of alertness. When your hearing is excellent, so too is your immediate reactions to anything from fire alarms to sirens to car horn blasts. By hearing and responding quickly to these sounds when they happen, you can ward off potentially dangerous situations quickly.

  1. Better social and sex life. Hearing impaired seniors who don hearing aids have been known to experience an improved social life and sex life. In addition, they have better overall mental health and a sense of independence.

  2. Increased sense of confidence. Those with difficulties in hearing can have a lack of self confidence or self-esteem because they can’t interact easily with others in social situations like parties. The result? They may avoid going to parties, meetings and get-togethers because of this fear.

  3. Keep dementia away. Hearing loss and dementia are linked, according to the National Institute on Aging. As we age, our brains shrink, especially in those who have hearing loss. But along with that shrinkage comes an increased risk of dementia.

  1. Less likely to fall and get hurt. If you can hear, you don’t have as high a chance of falling: true fact. In fact, those with a 25-decibel hearing loss have three times more of a chance of falling than those who don’t suffer from hearing loss. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, people who can’t hear well don’t have as much of a stable awareness of their surroundings, and can trip and fall easier.

  2. Listen well in school. If you find yourself in the classroom again as a senior, it helps if you have a sharp sense of hearing. This allows you to understand the teacher’s instructions more clearly and thus have an overall easier classroom experience.

  3. Obtaining better blood flow and oxygen for the ear canal. When you exercise, such as walk briskly around the neighborhood, you experience increased blood flow to the ears. This protects the ear canal, which can then guard against hearing loss.

  4. Head to the hospital less often. Hearing impairments, which can increase your risk of going to the hospitals due to falls and other events, can actually lead to more frequent periods of inactivity. Depression and decreased levels of physical fitness can then result.

  5. Interact well with others. With a hearing impairment, it’s difficult to communicate with anyone from your boss to your friends. Hearing loss can alienate you from getting the information you need to lead a successful life. Instead, having better hearing means you feel more confident that you can easily talk with others, allowing you to be present and engaged.

The Multiple Functions Of Digital Earplugs

There have been many advances in the realm of hearing health over the last few decades. While hearing aids have gotten a great deal of attention, preventative methods have evolved alongside of them to help individuals save their hearing. One of the most beneficial forms of hearing devices that have been developed are digital ear plugs, devices that use technology to prevent and filter sound in a variety of job environments. In this article we will examine the ways that these devices function, specific tasks that they can perform, and the industries in which they have been tested and found successful.

How Do They Work?

Digital ear plugs have several primary functions and use technology to achieve these ends. Of course, the first level of protection that an ear plug can provide is the ability to prevent some sounds from entering the ear canal entirely. However, while the old foam ear plugs could do this, modern ear plugs use technology to completely prevent sounds from entering the ear canal. Also, they have technology built into them to prevent certain frequencies into the ear, and can also protect individuals against sustained amounts of loud noise by integrating periodic listening points.

Specific Tasks

Digital ear plugs come with an incredible amount of versatility so that they can be used in many different areas of life. For example, while they are able to protect your hearing at a concert by blocking sounds, they are also able to boost the hearing ability for certain types of sounds. This means that the ear plugs will filter certain sounds, and can amplify others. Many other ear plugs also come with a device that allows sound to occur in certain decibel levels, but once the limit is reached, blocks that sound completely. We will look at some of the ways that this technology can be used in daily life.

Who Benefits From Digital Ear Plugs?

Some of the loudest environments occur in the lives of soldiers and first responders. Emergencies generate an incredible amount of noise, and first responders need to protect their hearing while minimizing the amount of distractions. That is why the stop gate technology in these ear plugs is perfect for them- only exposing them to certain amounts and types of sound. After all, constant noise is not only distracting, but dangerous.
For soldiers, digital ear plugs can also provide protection when they are firing their weapon or trying to hear a conversation. After all, these devices can prevent high decibel noise from permeating into the ear, but can also boost the sound level of conversational tones, allowing communication to occur in the most dire situations. Industrial work, police, and construction sites also benefit from this sort of technology, allowing for communication and protection to occur simultaneously.

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Did you know that says diabetes and hearing loss are two of the highest health concerns in America? It’s true, according to the American Diabetes Association. While it’s unlikely you connect diabetes and hearing loss, the fact is that these two conditions are closely intertwined. When you consider that 30 million people have diabetes and 34.5 million people have hearing loss, you’ll see this more clearly. Take a look at a few recent studies showing you’re twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss if you also have diabetes than others who don’t have this disease. 20,000 people from various continents around the world took part in the study from the United States, Asia, Brazil and Australia.

Correlation Between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Although many scientists believe the correlation is related to high blood glucose levels that come with diabetes, harming the small blood vessels in the inner ear, there is still much more work to be done on this front. While studies conclusively link diabetes and hearing loss, they “why” is still unknown. Just like the glucose levels in diabetics can adversely affect your eyes, kidneys and feet, your ears are also vulnerable to attack. More research is underway to further examine the link between the two conditions; however, they seem to have ruled out old age. It’s no secret that our hearing deteriorates as we enter our older years, but this is not apparently the case with diabetics. Some think if diabetics were to better control their blood sugar levels, they could reduce their risk of hearing impairment. In regards to noisy workplaces, this too has been ruled out. That said, diabetics take medications and diuretics that essentially lower their blood pressure, so these could be to blame as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

If you’re always on the lookout for tell-tale signs and symptoms of hearing loss, you’re already ahead of the game. If you have trouble keeping track of conversations with two or more people, hear mumbling from others, can’t pick out the voices of small children or women, and must crank the volume on the TV or radio up, you could have hearing loss of some degree. Do you have trouble distinguishing words against background noise or a crowd of people? Do you pick up on muffling of sounds every day instead of clear words? Do you have to ask others to repeat themselves? Unfortunately, these are all signs of hearing loss. You wouldn’t want to have to start avoiding certain social situations so you don’t get embarrassed, do you? This is why you should visit an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. If your spouse or friend says you have a hearing problem, heed that warning and go see your doctor.

Testing for Diabetes

Having your hearing tested as a diabetic is imperative because this can aid researchers in determining what the correlation is between diabetes and hearing impairment. During your routine exam, be sure to ask to be referred to a specialist – usually called an audiologist – for further testing and evaluation. Yes, diabetes brings on many other health concerns, all of which are tested for regularly, but hearing tests should never be overlooked at your regular visit.

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