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Hearing Loss and Diabetes

Friday, July 20, 2018 5:51:10 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss is a common issue nowadays, especially if you are in your late 40s. But situations are aggravated if you are a patient of diabetes. Because recent studies have found a good association of diabetes with the development of various hearing problems. According to a study made by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in June 2008, and which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a strong and persistent association of impaired hearing with diabetes has been found.


Incidence and Prevalence

The most common problems that come along with diabetes is hearing loss. Diabetes and hearing loss are the two most widespread health concerns in America. About 30 million US inhabitants are suffering from diabetes, and about 34.5 million people is suffering from some type of hearing impairment. Therefore, you must be concerned, and an early treatment of hearing loss becomes extremely necessary.

According to a study made in 2008, using the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a higher prevalence of about 21% of hearing damage is found among the diabetic patients, and about 9% is found among the non-diabetic patients. Also, it is analysed that this relation between diabetes and hearing loss has been the strongest in the younger survey participants who are less than 60 years of age.


How is Hearing Loss Related to Diabetes

As we all know that due to diabetes, there is a rise in the blood sugar levels. This damages the small blood vessels in the inner ear, thereby causing a deficit in oxygen supply. Due to a lack of oxygen, the hair cells are damaged, thus failing to transmit the sound signals received by them from the middle ear to the auditory nerve. In such a case, you must not delay in getting a proper treatment of hearing loss.


How would I know whether I have Hearing Loss?

If you notice the following 5 signs, then you are probably having some type of hearing impairment, and your ears need immediate attention!

  • You ask people to repeat themselves quite often, and almost regularly.

  • Do you face difficulties talking over the phone, and hence started avoiding them frequently?

  • Having difficulty in participating in one-to-one conversations.

  • Frequently raising up the TV/Radio volume more the the usual one.

  • Often thinking that others are mumbling.

  • Facing problems hearing in a noisy area such as at a busy restaurant.

All these are the ‘red flags’ which indicate that your hearing health is calling for help and you need to opt for a good treatment of hearing loss soon by consulting a certified Audiologist!


Can I Prevent Diabetic Hearing Loss?

The good news is that you can very well prevent hearing loss caused due to diabetes. The trick is to follow a healthy and balanced diet, and of course having a control over it! All you need to keep in mind that you have to control your blood sugar levels. Then it will be much easier for you to have a control over the diabetic-related problems and might be successful in preventing hearing loss as a result.


Which is an Effective Treatment of Hearing Loss?

If you are already suffering from hearing problems, then, as already mentioned, consult and discuss with a highly qualified Audiologist immediately. Get a proper hearing check-up and follow as suggested by your Audiologist. Hearing aid has proved to be quite an effective treatment of hearing loss till date. In cases of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, when hearing aids normally fail to give much benefits, cochlear implants have been opted for by Audiologists worldwide and these devices have proved to give excellent results! So why worry when there are so many innovative and advanced options out there?!

In a nutshell, never be depressed for being a diabetic patient, because there are thousands of solutions to preventing and controlling diabetic hearing loss.

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

What Would Happen If You Delay a Treatment of Hearing Loss?

Thursday, June 7, 2018 3:23:55 PM Asia/Calcutta

Before I proceed with answering this, first try to answer this question, “What would happen if you do not wear spectacles for a long time, in spite of suffering from some visual impairment?” Yes you are right! Your difficulty in vision would increase over time, which would invite many other undesirable problems like frequent headaches, social isolation, familial problems, and worse still, an untreated visual impairment might even lead to dangerous accidents, especially while on the roads.

Similar is the case with hearing impairment. If you delay in getting a proper treatment of hearing loss, then you might soon face many complications which would have easily been prevented if intervened in an early treatment method. The first and foremost task if you face any sort of hearing problems is to consult a professional and certified Audiologist, who would perform detailed diagnostic tests to detect the type of hearing problems you are facing.


What if my hearing loss gets cured by itself?

You might be asking one of this very commonly asked question. You will be surprised to know that once you are affected with hearing loss, you will never regain back your original hearing health, and worse still, instead of getting cured by itself, your hearing loss will start becoming adverse, which might make you end up in more complicated situations and health hazards. So ACT NOW and get your appropriate treatment of hearing loss soon!


I am Not Getting the Proper Motivation for Getting a Treatment of Hearing Loss

If you are not getting the appropriate motivation for going for a hearing loss treatment, then you will do so probably after knowing this interesting fact - we ‘hear’ with our brain, not with our ears! Surprised? Don’t be! The auditory centre of your brain is the only one which is responsible for perceiving, comprehending, processing and recognising the sound signals sent to it by the ear via the auditory nerve, and only then can you actually hear. The ear is only responsible for transmitting the sound signals (after converting them into electrical signals) to the brain - which does the actual part.


Will my Brain be Affected if I Delay in Opting for a Proper Treatment of Hearing Loss?

Your brain, which was previously accustomed to a particular auditory world, will get reorganised if it is deprived of sounds for a long time due to lack of proper stimulation to its auditory centre. This might lead to Auditory Deprivation, a condition in which the brain fails to recognise any sound if it has not received sound signals for an overly long period of time. What is even worse is that Auditory Deprivation might increase the risks of Dementia - a psychological condition in which the affected person gradually faces complications like restlessness, anxiety, hypertension, irritability, loneliness, nervousness, mood swings, depression, hallucination, paranoia, sleep disorder, mental confusion, loss of balance, inability to speak or understand language, and even forgetfulness. So do not even think of delaying in getting a proper and appropriate treatment of hearing loss. Always consult a highly trained Audiologist before taking any step.


Is it Possible to Rearrange the Brain to its Previous State?

Fortunately, it is possible to regain back your previous brain condition even after it had gone to a state of under-stimulation by and non-perception of sound signals. A majority of the people worldwide has been benefited by hearing aids - which is one of the best treatment of hearing loss. Once you start a proper treatment, although you might not hear clear sounds immediately, especially when you have left your hearing loss untreated for a long time, but soon your brain will again be accustomed to this ‘new’ auditory world. The more you delay, the more time will your brain take to get used to the new world of sounds, and the more dissatisfied you will be with your hearing aids.


What are the Health Hazards Linked with Delaying a Treatment of Hearing Loss?

Scientists and health professionals worldwide have proved that there are various complications that arise out of an untreated hearing loss. The seven main health issues caused from delaying a treatment of hearing loss include -

  • A decline in the Cognitive Functioning

  • Risk of Dementia

  • Brain Shrinkage - especially of the grey matter which is responsible for speech comprehension

  • Risk of Falling - because our ear is responsible for maintaining our body balance

  • Increased illnesses and hospitalizations

  • Increased Mortality - especially in case of the elder citizens. Studies show that older people who used hearing aids, had a lower risk of mortality, even though they suffered from severe hearing loss

  • Increased Risks of Depression

Apart from this, the affected person also suffers from social isolation, loneliness, and feels that he or she is being constantly ignored. As a result, the person might even lose the interest to enjoy the beautiful life activities and live happily.


What are the Benefits of an Early Treatment of Hearing Loss?

Research has shown that an early treatment has improved not only the person’s hearing abilities, but also the overall health of the person, and has also enhanced his/her quality of life to a great extent.


So why wait when you have so many options to choose from in this generation of technological boom and innovations! You even have a wide variety of hearing aids available, which are so advanced that they would even make you forget about your hearing problems. So get your ears checked today and indulge yourself in one of these innovative methods of treatment of hearing loss.

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

How to Beat Tinnitus?

Friday, May 18, 2018 1:14:57 PM Asia/Calcutta

What is it?

Tinnitus is the phenomenon in which a person gets to hear sounds when there is no external sound is present. This condition is generally associated with a ringing sound that occurs quite often in the ears of the affected person. However, apart from ringing, other sounds like a hiss, a buzz, a hum, a ticking, a whistle, a clicking or even as dangerous as a roar, are also often associated with Tinnitus. These sounds are quite annoying, and rather very disturbing on the part of the hearer who are constantly being deprived of enjoying a good hearing experience. So it is very important to ACT NOW, and to get a good treatment of hearing loss, if you are suffering from such a problem.

Symptoms of Tinnitus

What are its Causes?

Since tinnitus is not a disease, but just a symptom of some medical conditions, it can There can be many causes of tinnitus, including -

  • Noise-induced hearing loss

  • Inner ear cell damage (mostly due to over-exposure to high decibels of noise)

  • Ear infections

  • Excessive accumulation of earwax

  • Malformations in the ear

  • Otosclerosis - stiffening of bones in the middle ear

  • Jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ)

  • Chronic neck muscle strain

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Disease of the heart or blood vessels

  • Meniere’s disease

  • Emotional stress

  • Brain tumor

  • A (generally benign) tumor that creates a strain on the arteries in the neck and head

  • Acoustic neuroma. It is a noncancerous (benign) tumor which develops on the main nerve - that is, the cranial nerve - running from your brain to your inner ear, which is responsible for controlling our balance and hearing. This condition is also known as vestibular schwannoma, which generally causes tinnitus in only one ear, and even hearing loss accompanied by unsteadiness, due to the constant pressure arising out of the presence of the tumour. In such a case, it is high time for you to opt for a good treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus problems.

  • Chronic health conditions

  • Exposure to certain ototoxic medications and drugs

  • Head injury or trauma

  • Other injuries or conditions that affect the auditory nerve or the hearing center in your brain

  • Age related hearing loss or Prescubysis.

However, studies show that the problem of tinnitus is more common in people who suffer from depression.

Tinnitus can occur either in one or both the ears. In a more serious case, it can even occur in the head when there is a lack of Auditory stimulation - the condition which is termed as Auditory Deprivation. Tinnitus can be either intermittent or continuous. Studies show that most of the people who are facing tinnitus problems, are suffering from hearing loss. So an immediate intervention into the treatment of hearing loss as well as tinnitus problems becomes extremely necessary to avoid situations to grow more serious.


What are the Risk Factors?

Anyone can experience tinnitus due to various complications, but the following factors may increase the risk of tinnitus problems:

  • Loud noise exposure. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can damage the tiny sensory hair cells in your ear that transmit sound to your brain. People who work in noisy environments — such as the workers working in factory and construction settings, musicians, and soldiers — are particularly exposed to a high risk of acquiring tinnitus problems.

  • Age. As you start ageing, the number of functioning nerve fibers in your ears declines, possibly causing hearing problems, which is often associated with tinnitus.

  • Gender. Men are more likely to experience tinnitus than women.

  • Smoking. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing tinnitus. So it’s high time to throw off that dangerous roll of nicotine.

  • Cardiovascular problems. There are certain conditions that affect your blood flow, such as developing a high blood pressure or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis), can increase your risk of developing tinnitus problems.


What are the Types?

There are four kinds of tinnitus, mainly -

  • Subjective tinnitus: This is the most common form of tinnitus. The symptoms of subjective tinnitus can only be heard by the affected individual and are usually caused by exposure to excessive noise. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. Subjective tinnitus can also be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain (the auditory pathways), which is responsible for interpreting the nerve signals as sounds. This type of tinnitus can appear and disappear suddenly, and may last 3–12 months at a time. However, in some severe cases, it may never stop, and therefore, calls for immediate treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus.

  • Neurological tinnitus: It is usually caused by a neurological disorder, such as Meniere’s disease, that primarily disrupts the smooth functioning of the auditory centre of the brain, which is responsible for sound perception.

  • Somatic tinnitus: Sometimes damage to structures or organs outside the ear or the brain is a troubling source of tinnitus. So is the case of somatic tinnitus. This kind of tinnitus is related to the sensory system, where certain changes in the sensory input might give rise to tinnitus. It is a condition where the sensory system in the body can become worse and might influence tinnitus. Somatic signals are the sensory signals which are generated from the muscle position sensors present in the head, face, tongue, neck, trunk, arms, and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It would be a foolish act to delay a proper treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus in such cases.

  • Objective tinnitus: This is a rare form of tinnitus that may be caused by involuntary muscle contractions or vascular deformities. When the cause is treated, the tinnitus usually stops entirely. Objective tinnitus is the only type of tinnitus which can be heard from the outside, and it is the only type that has the potential for a permanent solution.


How to Fight Against It?

The only possible way to fight tinnitus is to prevent it! To make things easier for you, we have listed below some preventive measures of tinnitus -

  • Avoid loud noises - Keep yourself at a safe hand distance from loud noises, such as at concerts, theatres, etc. As already mentioned, noise-induced hearing loss is the major cause of tinnitus.

  • Ginkgo biloba - it is a Chinese herb that has excellent benefits when it comes to the prevention or treatment of hearing loss and of tinnitus problems. Combining it with zinc (about 500 gm) as studies show that this combination is a very effective treatment for most of the tinnitus problems. Ginkgo biloba, as already mentioned, can be a very effective treatment of hearing loss as it can help stabilize hearing loss problems by increasing the capillary blood circulation of both your body as well as your ears.

  • Melatonin  - Melatonin is a hormone that is made in the brain as a response to darkness and it is responsible for maintaining a balanced sleeping and waking pattern. Melatonin supplements are usually recommended to combat insomnia, as tinnitus usually disrupts sleeping person of the affected person.

  • Garlic - As already mentioned before, tinnitus is not a disease in itself, but is rather a symptom of some other complications. You might not always be able to identify the exact cause of tinnitus. But researchers have studies that whatever the cause may be, garlic might prove to be quite effective in curing or at least reducing tinnitus problems. The active ingredient in garlic - allicin - has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. If your tinnitus is a result of some infection, then garlic is powerful enough to kick away any infection, and is a very effective treatment of hearing loss.

  • Ginger - Like garlic, ginger too has many health benefits that improves the general health of a person. Ginger is known for improving blood circulation, eliminating tinnitus and reducing pain that occurs due to tinnitus.

  • Avoid alcohol, nicotine and coffee - Coffee, nicotine and alcohol are the silent killers for your hearing health! Although the actual reason is not quite known, these chemicals trigger tinnitus problems. So have a balanced and healthy diet by eliminating caffeinated coffee, nicotine and alcohol from your diet chart.

  • Horse chestnut - Researches proved that this herb is a very effective and powerful treatment of hearing loss. Since, in a majority of the cases, tinnitus is caused as a result of hearing loss, this herb can also treat this problem.

  • Coconut Oil and other Essential Oils - Coconut oil, along with other essential oils, is considered a very good treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus in many cultures. Apart from that, these oils also have excellent medicinal properties which treat insomnia and help a person to relax better, improve one’s state of mind, stimulate blood circulation and promote cellular repair and regeneration.


How to Manage Tinnitus?

Before starting a treatment of your tinnitus problems, your Audiologist will first analyse and find out the underlying cause of tinnitus. The various steps taken by the Audiologists for the treatment of hearing loss, accompanied by tinnitus problems include -

  • Earwax removal. Removing impacted earwax that has been accumulated excessively, thus creating a blockage in the ear canal - can decrease tinnitus symptoms.

  • Treating a blood vessel condition. Underlying vascular conditions may require medication, surgery or some other remedy to address the problems of tinnitus and the treatment of hearing loss.

  • Changing your medication. If a medication that you have been taking for a while appears to be the cause of tinnitus, your doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the dosage, or switching to a different medication as its substitute that will not be harmful for your ears.

  • Noise Suppression. In some cases, your Audiologist may even suggest you some white noise machines or other masking devices, and even hearing aids that might help to suppress the annoying ringing sounds typical to the problem of tinnitus.

  • Medication. Although drugs cannot completely cure tinnitus, some medications however, have proven to be quite effective in at least reducing the severity or complications of the problem to some extent. These include Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline, - which is generally used in cases of severe tinnitus, and Alprazolam (Niravam, Xanax). However, these are the last options that any Audiologist would opt for, as these medications and drugs often have tremendous side-effects.



Since there is no such proper cure of tinnitus, and people generally learn to accept it and get used to it over time, the problem of tinnitus remains quite a significant one - at least for a minority group.

But why not try to prevent it at least, and in more adverse cases - why not start an early treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus? Now that you are aware of these simple home remedial tips for preventing tinnitus, it would be foolish on your part to accept it and live your whole life with it! Why not try to make your life a better one? You deserve to live better, don’t you?

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

Smoking and Hearing Loss

Monday, April 23, 2018 7:25:57 PM Asia/Calcutta

Stop before you take another puff from that deadly tobacco roll! Are you experiencing hearing loss recently? Are you unable to understand what someone is saying? Quit smoking now! You will be shocked to know that there is a direct relation of hearing loss and smoking being its cause! Estimates show that the smokers are nearly 70% more likely than the non-smokers to suffer from hearing loss.

We understand that smoking is soothing and stress-relieving for you, but with every snuff, a great abundance of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia, vinyl chloride, hydrogen cyanide, and the like are ingested into your body. Although there is a vast emergence of advanced technological innovations, yet no treatment of hearing loss is pleasing nor are they going to restore your natural hearing. So as always, ‘A stitch in time, saves nine.’

According to a Nicotine and Tobacco Research published by the Oxford University Press including over 50,000 participants over 8 years, smoking is associated with the increased risks of hearing loss. Although the association of smoking with high-frequency hearing loss is much stronger than that with low-frequency hearing loss, yet the risks of both high- and low-frequency hearing loss increased with the intake of nicotine, and the chances for recovering even after following a good method of treatment of hearing loss reduces. Even if you quit smoking now, the risks of hearing impairment will take as long as 5 years to get decreased. Studies show that there are strong evidences that prove the fact that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss.


Harmful Effects of Smoking

Apart from hearing loss, the harmful effects of nicotine can show up in other aspects, such as -

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

  • Blocking of the ears

  • Nicotine interferes with the neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve that tells the brain which sound is the person hearing.

  • Dizziness

  • Vertigo

  • Reduction of blood pressure

  • Smoking irritates the Eustachian tube and the lining of the middle ear

  • Nicotine damages the body cells, which in turn might damage DNA. This makes the person more prone to several diseases.

  • Last but not the least, a very surprising fact about smoking is that it increases your sensitivity to loud noises, thus increasing the risks of noise-induced hearing loss.


How does Smoking Cause Hearing Loss?

Primarily, the nicotine and carbon dioxide that are formed after smoking, tighten your blood vessels, including the ones that are in your ears. This reduces the blood flow and thus results in a restriction of life-giving oxygen in the inner ear. This might again result in the damaging the tiny hair cells in the cochlea, which are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses for the brain to identify the sounds.

On the other hand, nicotine might also affect the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the auditory nerve, thus preventing to tell the brain which type of sound it is. Lastly, smoking unleashes the free radicals in our bodies which spread into the tissues and the hair cells in our inner ear. This might permanently damage your hearing health, and no treatment of hearing loss will regain back your original hearing.

Therefore, tobacco control requires immediate attention as it is very important for your health. So you must quit smoking now! Delaying this vital step might lead to more adverse and irreversible effects. Also, the more you delay in quitting the intake of nicotine and in getting a good treatment of hearing loss, the less are the chances of your hearing health getting better.


How to Quit Smoking?

In case you are having a hard time trying to quit smoking, here are some tips that might be helpful for you to do so successfully -

  • Find a reason - It might be to safeguard your family’s health (by protecting them from passive smoking), if you find it hard to safeguard yours. It might even be your desire to look and feel younger for many more years. And above all, it might be because it will prevent lung cancer. Whatever it is, it should be powerful and motivating enough.

  • Be prepared beforehand before finally throw that roll away - Smoking is an addiction, and it does not end once you quit it. Your brain will force you to take one snuff more. So talk to your doctor and make backup plans and methods, such as quit-smoking classes and apps, or even exercises that might help.

  • Consider nicotine replacement therapy - like having nicotine gums or lozenges, which will increase your success in quitting smoking.

  • Have a talk with your loved ones - they might help you to get out of this. It is probably the best therapy or treatment of hearing loss.

  • Give yourself a break - one main reason for people to revert back to smoking is that it helps them relax. So it is very important for you to take a break from everything.

  • Avoid alcohol and other triggers - Stick to your no-smoking goal.

  • Once you have had your last snuff, clean up your house - it will remove all the smell of smoke from your home, and hence would not trigger you.

  • Be active - it will reduce your cravings for grabbing that nicotine roll.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially greens - do not diet while you are trying to quit smoking. Too much hunger might backfire on you.

  • Reward yourself with the money you have saved from quitting cigarettes.

  • All you need to do is TRY! There is no better prevention and treatment of hearing loss, if your willpower is strong enough to say NO to cigarettes.

We hope that these tips would help you to throw away that hazardous paper roll. As already mentioned, always remember that prevention is always better than any forms of treatment of hearing loss.

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

Impact of Hearing Loss

Thursday, April 12, 2018 7:15:49 PM Asia/Calcutta

Life isn’t very easy for a hearing impaired person due to the fact that he or she has to live with hearing loss for the rest of his or her life. Situations grow even worse, if the hearing loss a person is suffering from is an untreated one. Beginning a proper treatment of hearing loss becomes very important, especially in case of children, as hearing is responsible for the development of speech and language skills, and other developmental skills. There are certain developmental milestones for growing children, which if not attained at the right age, might pose problems for the child in the long run.

Can you even imagine a world without sound? Just like vision, our hearing health is a vital asset of our life. A person without proper hearing abilities can face difficulties in many aspects and fields of life. It might be social, familial, academics, sports, work, emotional and even mental. It’s high time that you should act upon your hearing issues now and begin a treatment of hearing loss, delaying which will make the impacts more severe.

The scenario becomes all the more difficult if you have acquired hearing loss gradually with time, and not hearing impaired from birth. People who are born deaf learn to live their life in a different manner - they live in a world separate from us. We cannot easily intrude into their world, neither can we learn easily how to live life their way. So the best possible treatment of hearing loss is its prevention.

As already discussed, there can be various impacts of hearing loss. However, impacts vary depending on the age of the person. Let us take a look at the various effects of hearing impairment upon children (including newborns) and adults.


Impact of Hearing Loss on Infants

Having a good hearing health is the vital factor for the development of speech, language and other communication skills at the appropriate time. This in turn affects other important developmental skills, such as mental growth, social growth, academic growth, growth of interpersonal skills. If a child is barred from proper hearing treatment, then the child’s way of growing changes, and it might even affect the growth of his/her personality and self-esteem. As a result of which, the child may isolate himself/herself from other people. This might in turn hamper the development of academic skills of the child. Therefore, immediate intervention becomes absolutely necessary to detect any hearing problems present, and as a result an early treatment of hearing loss should be started without any delay.


Impact of Hearing Loss on Adults

In adults, especially those who have acquired hearing loss in his/her lifetime, the impacts can be of a more adverse nature. The most common impacts of hearing loss might include headaches, muscle tension, and increased stress and blood pressure levels. Some studies have linked untreated hearing loss in adults to anxiety, depression, fatigue, social isolation and even impaired memory. Also, straining to listen all the time makes the person frustrated and exhausted. Another serious issue that might happen to a person with untreated hearing loss is Auditory Deprivation. It is a situation in which the brain stops recognising sounds if it does not receive them for an overtly long period of time. This, therefore, affects the mental and emotional conditions of the person, thus increasing anxiety, forgetfulness and other similar psychological issues. As a result of which the person’s work, as well as familial and social life might get hampered.

In short, the quality of life gets affected if a proper treatment of hearing loss is not started on time, whether it be infants or adults. However, always keep in mind, that no treatment of hearing loss could regain your natural hearing health which you have been enjoying for so many years. Always acquire proper preventive measures so as to protect your ears from any harm. Prevention is always better than cure!

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee
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