Five Questions About the Connection Between Heart Health and Hearing Health

Did you know that your heart health is linked to your hearing health? In fact, there’s an important connection between your ears and your heart. And neglecting your cardiovascular system could spell trouble for your hearing. Let’s discuss! 1. How Are Heart Health and Hearing Health Related? Normal blood flow is critical for good hearing health. Inside […]

A Deep Dive into Understanding Swimmer’s Ear

Nothing says summer quite like a refreshing dip in the lake or swimming laps on a sunny morning. Or maybe you dream of pool volleyball during your annual tropical getaway. Whatever floats your boat, it’s understandable why hot summers and water activities naturally go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, water activities can often lead to swimmer’s ear. What is Swimmer’s […]

Did You Hear? Eating Healthy May Reduce Risk of Hearing Loss in Women

It’s not secret that eating health is great for your overall health. Eating healthy reduces the risk of chronic diseases. It supports brain function and may also improve mental health. And, of course, a healthy diet can support an active lifestyle. But a study also suggests that a healthy diet may have another surprising benefit—one […]

What is the Best Sound Ever?

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Founded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1927, this annual event raises awareness surrounding hearing and speech problems. It’s also the perfect time to think about our own hearing health. Sound breathes life into our everyday, nurtures our emotions, and evokes the memories our heart never wants […]

Hearing Aids Help Us Hear Better and Feel Better

There’s a lot of research available that demonstrates the association between hearing loss and depression. And it’s no surprise why. When it’s difficult to hear, it’s difficult to communicate. And when it’s difficult to communicate, it’s difficult for people with hearing loss to socialize and stay connected with their community. Social isolation and loneliness can […]

What to Expect With Your First Pair of Hearing Aids

Congratulations! You’ve received your first pair of hearing aids and have taken that first step towards better hearing and better living. So what happens next? Well now it’s time to get acclimated, or “used to”, wearing your new hearing aids.

Unlocking a World of Sounds for a Better Quality of Life

We know that past studies have associated hearing loss with depression and it’s no surprise why: When it’s difficult to hear, it’s difficult to communicate—which can lead to social isolation and eventually, depression. But what makes today’s fact stand out is that it highlights one of the first studies to directly link hearing aids with a reduced risk of […]

Can I Wear My Loved One’s Hearing Aids?

We hear versions of this question often. A family member has passed and someone else wants to use their hearing aids. Or a friend is upgrading their hearing aids and has offered their current pair to you. Seems like a good idea, but it is not quite as simple as slipping on a pair of […]

Is There a Way I Can Help a Loved One Who Has Hearing Loss?

We know that, left untreated, hearing loss can negatively affect our quality of life. Studies link untreated hearing loss to stress, depression, social isolation, and even dementia. Untreated hearing loss also increases the risk of falling, putting personal safety at risk.  But the person with hearing loss isn’t the only person affected by it. Hearing loss impacts spouses, family […]

How to Properly Clean your Ears

Cerumen, commonly known as earwax, is key to a healthy ear. It collects dirt, debris and bacteria, preventing unwanted foreign bodies from entering the ear. It has lubrication properties to keep the ears from getting dry and itchy. And it acts as an antifungal and antibacterial, helping to fight infections in and around our ears.   But, […]

Hear All the Best Moments in 2024

Happy New Year to you and all those you care about!   Like many of us, you’ve probably just finished unwinding from a whirlwind month. That time of year when you put others first — your family, friends, colleagues, community. And good for you. It’s what the holidays are about, right?  But now it’s your turn.  […]

Can Hearing Loss Treatment Help Prevent Dementia?

A highly regarded report published by The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care called dementia “the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century.” 1  Ask friends and loved ones of the estimated 50 million people worldwide who have dementia, and they’ll no doubt back it up — with stories about the worry, stress, […]

Four Ways Better Hearing Can Help With Stress

A close friend once said, “Life is lifelike” — and indeed life is filled with ups, downs, even upside downs, right? Because even though we’re all on our own journey, the one thing we all face from time to time is challenge. Unfortunately, challenge can sometimes be tough enough to pull us into that dreaded state […]

Your Hearing is Worth Protecting

Today’s world is often very noisy. And with noise being one of the top two causes of hearing loss — and the only one that is preventable — we thought it was a good reason to discuss hearing protection devices and how they compare to hearing aids. Hearing Protection Devices Hearing protection devices are designed to dampen […]

Hearing Loss Likely but Still Treatable as We Age 

If you’re around age 85 and reading this fact, you might be nodding, “Yep, I hear that.” And indeed, the fact makes sense, given that the likelihood of hearing loss increases as we age, according to the National Institute on Aging.  But with the good news that U.S. residents aged 80-plus are expected to double over the […]

Navigating the Common Yet Overlooked Reality of Age-related Hearing Loss

As we journey through life, we inevitably accumulate experiences, wisdom, and memories. But along with these treasures, there’s a less discussed companion that tends to tag along as the years go by—age-related hearing loss. It’s a reality that many of us are aware of, yet the statistics surrounding it might surprise you. In this blog, […]

How to Make Adjusting to Hearing Aids Easier

Relationships. Kid dance recitals. That “greatest hits” album your loved one can’t live without. Sometimes the things that matter can take a little extra effort on our part. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, right? Like better hearing! From meeting your newest born family member for the first time, to unwinding to the cozy […]

10 Tips to Protecting Your Hearing

Protecting your hearing is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. Hearing loss is a gradual and often irreversible condition that can significantly impact various aspects of your life. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable cause of hearing loss. When exposed to loud sounds for extended periods of time, like concerts, machinery, or recreational activities […]

How Common is Hearing Loss?

If you’re wondering how common hearing loss is, the research is plentiful and paints a crystal-clear picture: Hearing loss is highly prevalent. In fact, it is the third most common health issue for older adults.1 According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of the global population, or 1.5 billion people, have hearing loss. That […]

The Future of Wellness Tracking is in the Ear

Hearing is a vital part of our overall health and well-being, as it plays a key role in both our physical and mental health. But did you also know that the ear is one of the best and most accurate places to track movement and monitor our health? Even more so than the wrist, where […]

Your Odds of Hearing Loss Double Every Decade of Life

Hearing loss is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. In the United States, one in three people between 65 and 74 years of age have hearing loss. More alarming, the prevalence of hearing loss doubles for every decade of life. These sobering statistics underscore the importance of hearing healthcare and […]

Now Hear This — Hearing Tests Don’t Hurt

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of the word test. Going once… Going twice… Yeah, neither are we.  Test. It is just four letters but enough to shorten our breaths as our minds race to press that internal “postpone” button as fast as we can. Especially when it comes to medical tests — famous for the […]

Intrigue Al Hearing Aids – A New Beginning for Better Hearing

Imagine a hearing aid that can process sound the way it’s meant to be heard — clear and true to life. Designed to always be a step ahead, so you’re ready for anything. And with the all-day power to help ensure you don’t miss a moment of life happening around you. Now, picture starting each […]

Hearing Loss is Associated with a Higher Risk of Developing Dementia

Did you know…that hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia? In recent years, scientific research has shed light on the intriguing relationship between hearing loss and dementia. While hearing loss has long been associated with communication difficulties and social isolation, emerging evidence suggests a deeper connection between these two conditions. Understanding […]

Where is the Best Place to Get Hearing Aids?

Until recently, there was only one place to buy hearing aids. And while there are certainly more options now, the best is still a hearing aid professional. Let’s discuss!

Hearing Loss is Linked to an Increased Risk of Depression 

Hearing loss is a prevalent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It not only impacts our ability to communicate and connect with others but also poses hidden dangers to our mental well-being. Recent studies have highlighted a significant link between hearing loss and an increased risk of depression. May is Mental Health Awareness Month […]

Better Hearing Month is the Best Time to Treat Hearing Loss 

In 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) designated the month of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. Their goal at the time was to raise awareness about speech and hearing challenges and — more importantly — encourage people to take action and treat their own hearing and speech problems.  That mission is just as […]

Tips for Traveling with Your Hearing Aids 

Hearing aids are designed to be a large part of our daily lives and should be one of the first things on your packing list when it is time for a trip. Whether you are traveling for work or for fun, it is important to have a few tricks in mind when you travel with […]

Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids vs. Prescription Hearing Aids: What’s the Difference?

Recently, the FDA released its final regulations on over-the-counter hearing aids. This regulation introduced an entirely new category of hearing aids called “over the counter” or “OTC.” OTC hearing aids officially became available Monday, October 17th, and will be an additional option to the existing category of hearing aids that the FDA now refers to as “prescription.” As […]

Put Some Spring in Your Hearing!

Google the season “spring” and you’ll see images of blooming flowers, butterflies and birds, or find quotes about gardens, happiness and new beginnings. We hear a lot from our hearing aid wearers that spring signals a time of planning and renewal. It’s the season many of you visit your hearing professional to get earwax buildup removed […]

It’s Better to Deal With Hearing Loss Earlier Rather Than Later

A 2020 New York Times article headlined “Can Hearing Aids Help Prevent Dementia?” covers a lot of things we’ve known — and have been sharing with you — for years. Like that hearing loss is very common, that it’s a risk factor for things like cognitive decline, social isolation and dementia, and that too few people take it seriously. Obviously, given the headline, the article […]

Loneliness is Not Good for Your Health

Maybe it’s been this way for a while and we just didn’t notice, but loneliness is getting a lot of attention from healthcare professionals lately.  One obvious reason is COVID-19, which has forced people to socially distance or isolate themselves, and has severely limited in-person interactions, especially for older adults.  Another reason is the increasing […]

Your Hearing and Your Heart, Sitting in a Tree…

It’s February, which, thanks to Valentine’s Day, is a good month to discuss matters of the heart. Plenty will be written and said about the heart’s connection to love. We’ll leave that topic to the relationship experts. Instead, we want to discuss the heart’s connection to hearing and hearing loss — a subject much more […]

It Can Be Hard to Follow Doctors’ Orders if You Have Hearing Loss 

Today’s hearing fact probably isn’t something that comes to mind when you think about hearing loss. But — if you do think about it — makes a lot of sense.  It’s also potentially much more consequential than, say, missing a punchline in your favorite sitcom or your name being called when your Starbucks mocha is […]

Should You Get a Hearing Test?

Do you ever feel like the people you’re talking to are mumbling or speaking too quickly? Are you having to ask others to repeat themselves frequently? Or maybe you’re struggling to follow a conversation when there is background noise? If so, these could be indicators that you have a hearing loss. It’s not uncommon for […]

Untreated Hearing Loss Can Increase the Risk of Falling

If you are an older adult or have a parent, grandparent, or friend who is not as sturdy on their feet as they once were, you’ve probably thought about or talked about falling. Falls are some of the most frequent injuries suffered by older adults Falls are some of the most frequent injuries suffered by […]

Caring for Hearing Aids in Colder Weather

In places where it gets cold, it can be tough on a lot of things: automobiles, fingers and toes, and our psyche. But it doesn’t need to be hard on hearing aids, so long as you keep in mind a few things to do — and not do — when wearing hearing aids in cold weather. […]

Adults Should Get Regular Hearing Checkups

If the human body came with Care & Maintenance instructions, today’s recommendation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) would certainly be on them.  It’d be right in there to have your teeth cleaned and checked annually; visit your general practitioner for physicals and blood work; get vaccinated from diseases; exercise; eat fruits and vegetables; drink […]

National Family Caregivers Month

Observed every November since President Clinton signed a proclamation in 1997, National Family Caregivers Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the millions of people in the U.S. who compassionately and humbly care for parents, siblings, neighbors, and community members.  Grandparents, and older friends and relatives—particularly—need and benefit from the help caregivers provide, whether […]

It’s National Protect Your Hearing Month

You know that when a cause has an entire month dedicated to it, it must be important. For years, October has been National Protect Your Hearing Month. Why? Because hearing isn’t just important — hearing is essential!  Hearing plays a huge role in our physical health, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life. The sound […]

Hearing Loss is More Common Than You Think 

Because we’re a hearing technology company and our business is singularly focused on helping people hear the best they can, the statistic above — that hearing loss is the United States’ third most common chronic physical condition and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer — isn’t surprising to us.  We’re plenty aware that hearing loss […]

Hearing Aids Can Affect Certain Chronic Illnesses

In 2018, a team from the University of Michigan studied a group of older adults who reported they had severe hearing loss to see if hearing aid use impacted how they use our health care system. Some in the group treated their hearing loss with hearing aids, while others did not.  Knowing that hearing aids […]

Hear Better — Age Better

Don’t we all want to stay healthy and happy as we age? And we all know many of the obvious ways to do it — like exercising, eating right, not smoking and getting enough sleep.   But did you know our hearing also plays a role in healthy aging? Since September is Healthy Aging Month (bet you […]

Everything You Need to Know About Swimmer’s Ear

Summer is upon us and now, more than ever, we’re looking forward to enjoying outdoor activities — particularly water sports! Unfortunately, with water sports, we also see an increase in swimmer’s ear.    What is swimmer’s ear?   Swimmer’s ear is an infection found in the outer ear canal, the area that extends from the outer ear […]

Hearing Aids Are Linked to a Lower Risk of Falls

Falls are some of the scariest and most frequent injuries suffered by older adults. According to the CDC:  There are many reasons why older adults are more prone to falls — from weakness or medication side effects to vision problems, slower reflexes and more.  But a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that untreated hearing loss […]

It’s Better to Treat Hearing Loss Sooner

A few years back, a New York Times article pleaded that the treatment of hearing loss needs “to be taken much more seriously.”  Much of the article’s basis for that plea were the numerous mental and physical health consequences of letting hearing loss go untreated, including increased odds of depression, falling, emergency room visits, and, […]

Hearing Loss and Depression — is There a Link? 

We don’t need clinical evidence to understand that hearing loss can lead to depression. It’s the transitive property of addition brought to life: if a=b and b=c, then a=c.  If you’re experiencing hearing loss, there’s a good chance you’ll purposefully minimize or avoid social situations (because hearing is a challenge which makes socializing less fun).   […]

Enjoy Hands-free Phone Conversations Using Your Hearing Aids

The newest hearing aid feature enables hands-free phone conversations Can you enjoy hands-free phone conversations with your current hearing aids? If those current hearing aids are Arc AI, then the answer is yes! We’re excited to announce the newest feature in our already feature-packed Arc AI hearing aids — 2-Way Audio. With 2-Way Audio, the microphone […]

More People Over 70 Have Hearing Loss Than Don’t

As humans age, numerous things become inevitable. Our hair will gray. Our bones will weaken. Dinners will be eaten earlier. And our hearing abilities won’t be what they once were. In case seeing-it-with-your-own-eyes isn’t enough to convince you that this future holds true, statistics like today’s hearing fact should. Research shows that more than two-thirds […]

Hearing Aid Use is Associated With Positive Cognitive Health Results

Several studies have concluded that “untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia by 50%.”   This link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline has been a growing topic of discussion in the medical world for a while now — our own Dr. Archelle Georgiou even discussed it in a recent podcast.  We know definitively […]

Can Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by several different factors including aging, injury, noise exposure, even heredity. Those factors affect the auditory nerve, causing sensorineural hearing loss, which is the most common type of hearing loss.   But there is a second, less common type of hearing loss, known as conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss affects […]

The Best Place to Get Hearing Aids

Until recently, if you wanted to be treated for hearing loss or get hearing aids, you had one choice — see an audiologist or other licensed hearing healthcare professional. Today, the options have definitely gotten more complicated, with online-only retailers, big-box stores, and numerous new or unexpected companies now advertising hearing loss solutions. Here’s the […]

Hearing Loss Can Lead to Social Isolation

Loneliness and social isolation have been getting their fair share of attention lately. For good reason. Covid has made both more prevalent. And both are increasingly linked to numerous physical and mental health issues, including: 50 percent increased risk of dementia 32 percent increased risk of stroke 29 percent increased risk of heart disease Higher […]

Why Can’t I Hear Well in the Car?

When people find out I’m a hearing professional, they’ll often ask me some version of the following: “I can’t hear the kids in the backseat when we’re in the car. They’re trying to tell me about their day or ask me questions, but all I can do is nod and smile. Is there anything I […]

Untreated Hearing Loss Leads to Increased Healthcare Costs

For those who need convincing that hearing aids are worth the investment, today’s hearing statistic is one data point among many that should help convince you they are. A recent investigation on healthcare cost trends concluded that older adults with untreated hearing loss used healthcare services more — and subsequently spent more on healthcare — […]

Hearing Care Services Are Important to Hearing Aid Satisfaction

The best place to buy new hearing aids has always been and probably will always be in person from a hearing professional. Hearing-care services are almost always bundled in with the cost of hearing aids when you buy them from a hearing professional. That’s because hearing professionals know that getting used to wearing hearing aids […]

How to Properly Clean Your Ears

Cerumen, commonly known as earwax, is key to a healthy ear. It collects dirt, debris and bacteria, preventing unwanted foreign bodies from entering the ear. It has lubrication properties to keep the ears from getting dry and itchy. And, it acts as an antifungal and antibacterial, helping to fight infections in and around our ears.  […]

Tips for Getting Used to Wearing New Hearing Aids

OK, think back to a year or so ago. Remember when you would go to a matinee and then after, when it ended and you left the theater, the daylight would overwhelm you temporarily? Well, the same thing happens when you first start wearing hearing aids. Your brain has gotten used to the quiet. It […]

Hard Time Hearing in Noise? Here’s Why

There are many signs of hearing loss — but one of the first signs that your hearing is going is if you can hear fine in quiet environments yet struggle to hear in noise. Here’s why.  Even for people with normal hearing, noisy settings can be tricky to navigate when trying to make out speech. […]

Hearing Aid Perception Vs. Reality

Hearing and sight are arguably our two most important senses (despite taste getting a lot of attention these past 18 months). Yet, if and when either starts to fail us — and both typically do as we age — we react to each very differently. You can tell by all the people with glasses, contacts, […]

Hearing Loss Treatment and the Role It Plays in Dementia Prevention

A 2017 study, conducted by The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care, called dementia “the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century.” But you don’t need a study to tell you that. Ask friends and loved ones of the estimated 50 million people worldwide who have dementia (there’s […]

Types of Hearing Loss

Three of the most common hearing loss questions and their answers If you’re like us, you like to get to the bottom of any ailment you have. When you know what the exact issue is, you waste less time and anxiety and going-down-a-rabbit-hole Google searches wondering what it might be. And, because you know what […]

How to Encourage a Loved One With Hearing Loss to Seek Help

It’s been proven that — left untreated — hearing loss can have a negative effect on our quality of life. Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to decreased cognitive function, higher incidences of hospitalizations, falls and depression, and increased risk of social isolation and dementia. Those studies don’t take into account how ignoring hearing loss […]

How to Know if You Have Hearing Loss

Not sure if you have hearing loss? That’s not uncommon. Hearing loss symptoms are subtle and typically emerge slowly. It frequently takes years for people to realize they have hearing loss. Also, we simply don’t test our hearing enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that “less than half of adults who […]

Could Earwax Be Causing My Hearing Loss?

Since earwax seems to be a popular topic these days (don’t ask us why, but earwax cleaning videos are trending on social media), we thought now was a good time to answer this FAQ. Can earwax cause hearing loss? A lot of things can cause hearing loss. Noise exposure. Aging. Certain medicines. And yes, too […]

12 Reasons You Should Test Your Hearing

After the past year of living socially distant and behind masks, we think reconnecting is more important and coveted than ever! Unfortunately, it’s also more challenging for those of us with hearing loss — which is the biggest reason why 2021 should be the year to test your hearing and treat it if it turns […]

12 Reasons to Get Via Edge AI Custom Rechargeable Hearing Aids

If you’ve been holding out on getting hearing aids because you were waiting for something that didn’t scream “hearing aid!” while also offering unheard of sound quality and high-tech, life-just-got-way-easier features, well then you know how the next paragraph begins. Hold out no longer and check out Via Edge AI custom rechargeable hearing aids. Custom […]

Regular Hearing Checkups Are a Good Idea

If you’re proactive about your health and well-being — and more of us are today than ever before — then you may already test your hearing regularly.  But if you don’t and you want to know why you should, keep reading. Benjamin Franklin famously said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” […]

Why two hearing aids are better than one

Ok, try this: Cover one eye with your hand and look around. Notice how clarity, depth perception and spatial awareness are effected?  It’s not much different with our ears. Just as we use both eyes to see our best, our two ears work together to help us hear our best. That’s why it’s usually recommended […]

I Have Hearing Loss – Now What?

What to do if you think you have hearing loss Most people who have hearing loss aren’t born with it. Instead, hearing loss creeps up on us over time, usually caused by exposure to loud noises, aging, or some combination of the two.  Statistics show that the prevalence of hearing loss doubles for every decade […]

Can Hearing Loss Be Restored?

The quick and frank answer to the question, “Can hearing loss be restored?” is no, once hearing is lost, you cannot restore it to how it was. But notice the “how it was” part of that answer. That’s because, while you can’t go back to the way you used to hear, you can still absolutely […]

Golf and Hearing Loss: Why Golf is a Great Sport for the Hearing Impaired

Jordan Fuller, over at Golf Influence, explains why golf is a perfect pastime for those with hearing loss.   Having optimal hearing is important when playing a round of golf, although golfers who wear hearing aids may find them to be more frustrating than not being able to hear what’s happening around them. There is good […]

Why Do My Ears Feel Plugged?

If you’ve ever flown, you most likely know the sensation of your ears plugging up. Irritating, right? Here’s why that happens. The most common reason for ears to feel clogged or plugged is due to something called Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (Eustachian is pronounced “You-Station”). The Eustachian tube connects the back of the nose to the […]

Should You Get a Hearing Test?

Do you ever feel like the people you’re talking to are mumbling or speaking too quickly? Are you having to ask others to repeat themselves frequently? Or maybe you’re struggling to follow a conversation when there is background noise?  If so, these could be indicators that you have a hearing loss.  It’s not uncommon for […]

Hearing Loss, Talking Loudly and Covid-19

By now we should all know that infectious pathogens — like COVID-19 — can be transmitted from person to person through coughing and sneezing. But did you know it may be transmitted simply by talking, too? In a study published just this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that […]

Video Conferencing Tips for Those With Hearing Loss

Face masks are now an everyday accessory, “staying in” is the new “going out,” and you guessed it, video chatting is a necessary element of our social fabric and remote work. It’s all part of the new normal.  For those with hearing loss, these changes haven’t been as seamless. As you or a loved one […]

Top Ten Things You Can Do With Your Smartphone-connected Hearing Aids

Today’s hearing aids are more sophisticated than ever! One of the greatest advances in hearing aid technology is the ability to pair them to a variety of smartphones, including Apple iPhones and several Android handsets. The connection between smartphones and hearing aids brings a long list of incredible benefits. Here is my top 10 list […]

Five Things You Should Know About Earwax

When you hear the word “earwax”, you might immediately think YUCK! But, did you know that earwax actually plays an important role in the health of your ear? I’d like to share some facts about earwax and the part it plays in a healthy ear. 1. Earwax is not YUCK at all  In fact, earwax is […]

The Hearing Aid That Detects Falls and Sends Alerts

If you’re an older adult — or care for someone who is — falling is likely high on your list of worries. And for good reason. According to the National Council on Aging1: • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury.• Falls are the leading cause of fatal […]

One in Five With Hearing Loss Feel Lonely, and It’s Affecting Their Health

Loneliness has typically been thought of like most other human emotions — fleeting and virtually harmless. While short periods of loneliness may not have negative effects, prolonged loneliness is toxic and increases the risk of dying by 26%. In fact, loneliness is as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases […]