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Check it Out: Local health events 

TRANSPARENTS
SUPPORT GROUP

Pioneer Valley TransParents, a support group for parents of transgender, gender nonconforming or questioning children, teens and adults, meets the first Monday of each month,

The next meeting is July 1, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Contact PVTransParents1@gmail.com for more information.

CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE

A program on the health benefits of chocolate and coffee will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. the Northampton Senior Center on Conz Street.

The event is open to all seniors ages 55 and up. Registration required; no fee. For more information call 587-1228.

MEDICAL PRACTICE EXPANDS

Manhan Internal Medicine, a family medicine practice of four health care providers, has doubled its space at its 2 Mechanic St. location in Easthampton. It now has a blood draw station available to patients. The practice also brought on two additional physician assistants.

The renovation, completed in early May, added five exam rooms, doubled the size of the waiting room and added an on-site Holyoke Hospital lab so patients don’t have to travel further for blood work.

PROTECTING YOUR EARS

Experts urge residents to use ear protection during July 4th celebrations and other loud activities.

The single bang of a firecracker at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant, according to audiologist Deborah Reed of Ascent Audiology and Hearing of Hadley.

Ten million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise. Children are most vulnerable.

Disposable ear plugs, made of foam or silicone, are typically available at local pharmacies. Ascent Audiology offers free ear plugs.

Any noise above 85 decibels is considered unsafe; most firecrackers produce sounds starting at 125 decibels, said Reed. If you have to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within arm’s length, the noise is probably in the dangerous range, she said. Other warning signs include pain in your ears after being around noise, ringing or buzzing in your ears, difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise.

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