Technology and health

How to make your gizmos and gadgets work for you.
 I use technology all the time. Any worries?

Staying in the same position for too long, especially unnatural positions like on the train or on the couch, may affect your back. The screen may affect your eyes. Look away, take screen breaks and get up regularly to move around.

At your desk, note how you’re sitting, the computer screen position, your chair height, the position of your mouse and keyboard and the rest of your desk equipment. Adjust your position so your eyes are level with the screen, arms are comfortable and supported and the chair supports your back. If you’re using a laptop for a long period, use a separate keyboard and mouse and a laptop stand. (Remember too that using a laptop actually on your lap can damage sperm and fertility.)

We know some people feel they are sensitive to the electromagnetism from these devices so there may be effects on health we don’t yet know about. 

Should I get my sight tested?

See an optometrist if you are having difficulty focusing close-up or seeing long distance or have pain, headaches, blurred vision or see halos around lights. As we age, some deterioration in sight is normal. The basic eye test is cheaper than you think and is free in many cases or if ‘clinically necessary’. 

If you already wear glasses or contacts, you should go for an eye test at least every couple of years. People over 40 and people from black or minority ethnic groups may need tests more frequently. (People from African-Caribbean backgrounds are at greater risk of glaucoma and diabetes and people from south Asian backgrounds at greater risk of diabetes.)

If you use screens habitually as a significant part of your normal work, your employer should pay for a proper eye test and any glasses you might need for screen work.

Always protect your eyes when working by using the right mask, shield or goggles. 

What about hearing?

Hearing also deteriorates with age - 40% of those over 50 have some hearing loss. Look after your ears by wearing ear protectors when necessary and keeping volume down when using headphones or headsets. 

Wax build-up can also affect hearing. Warmed olive oil (yes, the cooking type) can loosen wax, or try drops from your pharmacist. If they don’t help, see your practice nurse.

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This content is wholly based on the Men's Health Forum's The Man Manual which was prepared in line with the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Follow the links for more information or to buy copies.


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