TODAY   |  June 18, 2013

Modern medical woes: Handling tech aches and pains

Dr. Roshini Raj of Health magazine quizzes the TODAY anchors on the best ways to avoid tech-related health complaints, including how to hold your handheld devices and the proper volume for headphones.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> smartphones, tablets, flat screen tvs, probably using one of them right now, if you're watching us you're probably using that tv.

>> they make our lives easier but can cause long-term problems for your vision and hearing.

>> here to school us is a contributing editor for health magazine. good to see you.

>> good to see you guys.

>> you're going to quiz us on this.

>> hope you're ready. question number one when using your smartphone what position should you hold it in. a is down by your naval. b is chest high or c, right in front of your face.

>> if you're watching it.

>> if you're using your smartphone, texting.

>> natalie says c right in front of your face.

>> just for variety.

>> a, and b.

>> when in doubt, guess b and you're right al, actually b, chest high is correct. when you're holding it too low, everyone is hunching over and it can cause neck strain and shoulder strain. too high, the same thing if you're lifting up your neck. have it chest high and neutral position in your neck because people are looking at their phones way too much i have to add but a lot during the day. you don't want to strain your neck or your shoulders.

>> love that one.

>> question number two, what can result in the overuse of hand helded devices, b arthritis, b tendonitis or c, both of the above?

>> you're right. we're talking about arthritis and tendonitis in your hand. they call it smartphone thumb or texting thumb where people can get an injury there. sometimes it requires splinting or even surgery.

>> is it like carpal tunnel .

>> it's similar but you're talking about the base of the thumb joint. i use my finger. it looks like you don't know how to text but it's better.

>> how do you know if you have tendonitis in your thumb.

>> you'll feel pain or have redness or swelling of that joint. stop using your thumb if you notice that and use your other finger.

>> got it.

>> what is a safe volume at which to listen with your earphones. a full volume? b 50%, or c 80%.

>> b, yes. al and natalie, willie, sorry.

>> 80%.

>> he went with 80%. they're seeing more hearing loss in younger people and we're all using the earphones and ear buds . ear buds in particular because you're getting more exposure and people are cranking them up because they don't cancel out the outside noise. 50% is a good rule of thumb and another rule of thumb is if other people can hear your music it's way too loud. no one else should able to hear.

>> is it better to use the bigger phones.

>> yes, because they cancel out the other noise.

>> those from the 80s.

>> those are in right now.

>> i see them a lot.

>> last question.

>> okay. question number four. how often should you look away from your computer to prevent vision problems? a every 20 minutes , b every 30 minutes , or c every 40 minutes.

>> very good. you guys are great. every 20 minutes and the rule of thumb is every 20 minutes for about 20 seconds you want to look away . there's something called computer vision syndrome . they get eyestrain and eye fatigue. it's not a permanent vision issue