How Do I Properly Clean My Ears?
When it comes to cleaning your ears there aren’t many steps to keep them in optimal shape. By producing earwax, your ears actually help keep themselves healthy. The wax your ears produce is how they clean themselves. Wax helps to remove dust and debris that may have entered your ear. It also helps to keep bacteria and infections from entering into your middle or inner ear. The ear is truly an amazing part of our body.
However, some people do tend to produce more wax than normal, which can create problems like build-up and blockage of the ear. If these issues aren’t address it can lead to temporary hearing loss. So what can be done about this? Let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to cleaning your ears.
* DO NOT use cotton swabs. Though Q-tips may seem like a great way to clean your ears they are not. They can push earwax further down your ear canal causing a blockage that could puncture your eardrum. They could also puncture your eardrum on their own, causing dirt, debris and more to get into your middle and inner ear, causing major problems.
* DO NOT do ear candling. Ear candling may seem like a great and easy way to clean your ears of excess wax but it is not. Ear candling can significantly increase your risk of problems to your ear canal, eardrum and hearing. Just like Q-tips candling can push wax further into your canal causing a blockage or perforation of your eardrum which can then lead to increased risk of infection.
* DO NOT stick anything in ear that is smaller than your elbow. This may sound funny but it is true and a good rule to live by when it comes to your ears and cleaning them. So yes that means no fingers in your ears either. By following this rule it will ensure that no wax is pushed further down your ear canal causing a blockage or perforating your eardrum. This will then decrease your risk of infection as well.
* DO use a cloth to clean your outer ear. After a shower is the best time to clean your outer ear. Everything will easily wipe away with little effort. This will help to ensure any dirt and debris on your outer ear will not make its way into your ear canal.
* DO see your family doctor or hearing health professional. If you think you have an excessive amount of wax build-up in your ear please see your family doctor or hearing health professional. They will be able to look in your ear and help to properly and safely remove any excessive wax that may be present.
* DO talk to your family doctor or hearing health professional about preventative measures. Speaking with your family doctor or hearing health professional about preventative measures when it comes to wax build-up is a great idea. They may be able to suggest way to remove wax build-up at home safely, such as the use of drops. Do not seek out your own preventative measures always seek out the advice of a professional and follow their guidelines this will help to ensure proper usage and care as well as decrease the risk of infection.
Cleaning your ears doesn’t have to require a complicated regime, these daily tips of dos and don’ts will help you take a better step to healthy hearing!
Do You Know How the Ears Work?
But what is inside an ear? How do the ears work? What are the different parts of the auditory system and what is each part responsible for?
Ears have three sections: the outer, middle and inner ear.
* The outer ear is where the ear canal, eardrum and pinna are located
* The middle ear houses the ossicles and eardrum
* The inner ear consists of the cochlea, the auditory hearing nerve and the brain
* These three sections work together so we can hear well. The outer ear is where the earwax is produced. * Earwax is the waxy substance that protects the ear canal from anything that could potentially get in. This part of the ear is visible. It collects surrounding sounds and sends the sounds deep into the ear.
How do we hear?
From the outer ear, the sound waves enter into the middle ear. It is the middle ear’s job to take the sound waves and transform them into vibrations. This is where the eardrum comes in. The eardrum vibrates once the middle ear turns the sound waves into vibrations, moving the ossicles. This allows for the sound to make its way into the inner ear. The cochlea in the inner ear takes the sound and creates nerve signals that your brain can understand. This is possible because the cochlea is filled with tiny hairs that, when moved, create nerve signals.
What happens when you lose your hearing?
Hearing problems are caused when one or more sections of your ear are not responding the way they’re supposed to. The part of the brain that controls hearing and the nerves around the ears can also be the reason for the loss of hearing. Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors such as an infection, a disease, an injury, or old age.
The inside of the ear has little hair cells (in the cochlea). These cells are a reason we can hear easily. They send sound waves to the brain. Surprisingly, hair cells cannot ever be replaced once they are damaged. If this happens, it is very likely that you will experience a loss of hearing. However, hearing aids and surgery are the two options you have to improve your hearing. The type of hearing aid you choose depends partially on preference and on the severity of the hearing loss you are experiencing.
It is always a good idea to see your hearing care provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your ears. In addition, you would not want to harm your ears. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry and always consult a hearing professional if you experience any trouble with your hearing.
Tips for Safely Cleaning Your Ears
Do cotton swabs cause damage to your ears?
First and foremost, chances are that, during your act of cotton swab cleaning, you’re actually pushing wax deeper into the ear canal. The result is a buildup of earwax near your eardrum, which can actually make hearing more difficult.
Another reason to keep your ears free from cotton swabs is that inserting anything into the ear puts you at risk for rupturing the eardrum or damaging the tiny hair cells within the ear that enable you to hear. Once those hair cells are damaged, they cannot be repaired, causing irreversible hearing loss.
How should you clean your ears?
It is important to remember that earwax is important to the health of the outer ear canal. Earwax provides protection, lubrication and antibacterial properties; as such, some amount of earwax is supposed to be produced. If the ear canal has too little earwax, you may notice dry or itchy ears.
If you suspect you may have too much earwax, causing a buildup, a few home treatments may help you get rid of that excess wax. The driving force behind most home remedies is the notion that the earwax needs to be softer so it can drain from the outer ear canal.
Are there any over-the-counter remedies for ear cleaning?
Try placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin or commercial drops into the ear. Drops will soften the wax, allowing it to be lightly wiped out with a warm, damp cloth. Irrigation with an ear syringe is another common tactic for cleaning ears. Over-the-counter syringes, sold with solution, can offer easy at-home solutions for cleaning ears of excess earwax.
If neither drops nor syringes work, contact a local hearing healthcare professional for expert help. Hearing care providers are trained to remove earwax safely and effectively, in addition to numerous other services.
5 Amazing Gift Ideas for People with Hearing Loss
Well, buying gifts is definitely not an easy task and it gets even more difficult if you have to buy a gift for someone with hearing loss because not a lot of people know about the options available in the market. This guide will help you find the best gift for your friends and family members who have a hearing impairment.
1. The Trellie
Trellie is a flashing device that is linked to your cell phone. Whenever there is a message or a call on your cell phone, Trellie will flash in order to notify you. Trellie comes in different shapes and sizes, both wearable and non-wearable. The device can also work as jewelry for your loved one.
2. LampLighter Signaler
LampLighter Signaler is a unique device that alerts you through a light signal. The device has a lamp which flashes in different patterns to alert you about a ringing doorbell, phone call, fire alarm or any other notification.
It uses LED lights for each type of alert and uses different types of unique flashing patterns for each of them. Simultaneously, you can also use the lamp normally for regular use by simply switching it on and off by a button on top of the LampLighter Signaler.
3. AuDBling jewelry
AuDBling is owned by Michael Crosby, a ceramic tile businessman, and Noel Crosby, an audiologist. The duo founded the company when Noel got an idea about making jewelry for hearing aids and cochlear implants when she saw an ear jewelry that looked a lot like a cochlear implant.
The jewelry comes in various forms such as bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings. There are different jewelry sets available as well.
4. Charms and tube twists
Ever witnessed your partner lacking confidence because of his or her hearing aid or cochlear implant? Want to make them feel more confident and love themselves? Charms and tube twists might be able to solve the problem.
Designed by a 14-year-old Hayleigh Scott, a profoundly hard of hearing girl, these charms and tube twists make the hearing aids and cochlear implants pretty and full of bling. These accessories make the wearer feel more confident about wearing hearing devices.
5. Hearing aids and cochlear implants secure cords
These cords are custom-designed to your order. The secure cords attach to hearing aids or cochlear implants and clips them to the clothing. They help secure these hearing devices from falling or getting lost. The cords come in different designs, shape, and sizes as well. They can also be customized upon the client’s request.
This is not an exhaustible list of products available in the market for people with hearing loss and there are several more options present as well. Thus, all it take is some knowledge about what might be useful and what options are available to get the best gift. Do not forget to analyze the gifts and ensure whether or not your friend would like it.
Dos and Don’ts of Ear Cleaning
The dos of ear cleaning
Do try baby oil. Adding a drop or two to your ear and then gently massaging your ear from the outside can help to break up any earwax and also provide a smoother surface for it to come out of.
Do try over-the-counter wax softeners. Like baby oil, these drops help to naturally soften the earwax so that it can slide out easily.
Do let your ears get wet. While the feeling of water inside your ears can be uncomfortable, by allowing warm water from your bath or shower to enter into your ears you can naturally break up the earwax that is formed inside.
Do visit your doctor. If you have chronic ear pain or you feel like you’re starting to lose hearing, visit your doctor. While most of the time these issues are a cause of earwax buildup, they can also be signs of more serious medical conditions. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.
The don’ts of cleaning your ears
Don’t use cotton swabs. If you look closely on the box of Q-Tips, it clearly states that cotton swabs are not to be inserted into the ear canal. Yet cotton swabs are still a staple in most people’s houses. Cotton swabs are long and ear canals can be relatively short. It only takes a bit of pressure to puncture your eardrum or knock against on the tiny bones inside your ear. While it may seem like you are cleaning your ears with the cotton swabs, in reality, you could be compacting the earwax so that it builds up in a greater amount.
Don’t use hydrogen peroxide. Some people believe that hydrogen peroxide can help to thin earwax. However, if there is a more serious issue, like a hole in the eardrum, this chemical can cause further damage. Straight hydrogen peroxide is too toxic to be used in your sensitive ears.
Don’t use ear candles. This primitive method is not commonly used but is dangerous enough to mention. Ear candling involves taking a hollow candle and inserting one end into your ear. The other end is then lighted. The belief is that the warmth of the lit candle will melt the earwax, enabling it to slide down the hollow tube. Ear candling is very dangerous and no research has proven its effectiveness. More often than not, ear candling results in more damage than what was the original issue and can often result in surgery.
Don’t vacuum your ear. Again, nothing should be inserted into your ear canal. Ear vacuums may seem like a safe alternative because they purport to suck earwax out, but any instrument that is inserted into your ear can cause damage.
The important thing about hearing health is that you take it seriously! If you’re worried you may be suffering from hearing loss or excessive earwax, schedule an appointment with a hearing professional in your area!
4 Tips for Safe and Effective Ear Cleaning
Clean your ears after a shower
Scraping dried-up wax out of your ears not only sounds unpleasant, it’s more likely to irritate them and trigger even more earwax production. The easier and safest time to remove excess earwax is right after a shower when the interior of your ears is warm and soft. Whether you simply wipe around the outside or use a few drops of an earwax softener, do it after your shower.
Clean with the natural design of your ears
The shape of your ears and your earwax, are designed to push dirt and bacteria out of your ears. Using pointed objects that push dirt and wax further into your ears works against your body’s natural process. Use only a circular motion to wipe around the outside portion of your ears to remove excess wax and moisture that has been pushed to the surface. If you use a device, choose one specifically designed for cleaning earwax safely – not a cotton swab, your finger, or other objects.
Use drops and irrigation sparingly
Some people produce enough earwax that it interferes with hearing, causes pain, or encourages ear infections. Home remedies like a few drops of peroxide, mineral oil, equal parts vinegar/water/rubbing alcohol, and over-the-counter earwax softeners are safe, but should be used sparingly. In most cases, you shouldn’t be using drops in your ears more than a few times a week. These substances can irritate and dry your ears, triggering more earwax production to protect them. Methods like irrigation encourage infections by introducing too much moisture to your ears. In short, the less you find it necessary to clean your ears, the better.
Seek professional help for serious earwax buildup
If earwax has become hard and impacted in your ear canal, it’s a danger to your hearing and your health. Home methods probably won’t work. For serious blockages, consult a qualified hearing health care professional for syringing and other in-office cleaning methods.
How Do I Clean My Ears?
How you may ask?
Your ears produce wax or cerumen and this wax is produced at the base of your ear canal to move up and out of your ear, taking with it any dirt and debris that gets caught in your ears. Despite knowing this, many people still choose to clean their ears, particularly with cotton swabs, which is a big no-no! But in reality, they may be causing more harm than good. So how can you safely clean your ears? Let’s go over a few tips.
* See your hearing specialist. When it comes to your ears, see your hearing health professional. They will be able to look into your ears and determine if there is an excess build-up of wax or another problem that may exist. If your ears are impacted with wax, which can sometimes happen, they will be able to safely clean out your ears in office.
* Nothing smaller than your elbow. The best rule of thumb to live by when it comes to cleaning your ears is to never stick anything into your ear canal that is smaller than your elbow. Remember, earwax is there to help keep your ears clean, so we don’t want to remove the healthy wax our body’s produce. If you want to help out you may simply, after you shower, wipe away any dirt or debris or wax that has made its way out of your ear canal as is sitting at the opening by wiping it away with your towel wrapped around your finger.
* Over-the-counter treatments. There are many over-the-counter ear cleaners on the market. However, do not attempt to use one of them unless you have consulted with your hearing health professional. Most people do not need to use over-the-counter ear cleaners. Some, however, may need to depending on their lifestyle and body.
* Cleaning methods to avoid. When it comes to cleaning your ears there are a few things that you should avoid. You should avoid using cotton swabs as they can push the wax and foreign bodies down further into your ear canal causing a blockage, or if not careful, you could puncture your eardrum. You should avoid the ear candling cleaning method because it can also cause serious damage to your ear canal or eardrum and does not actually clean your ears.
Remember, if you have any questions regarding your ear maintenance or cleaning methods, don’t hesitate to contact your hearing care provider to ensure you’re following the healthiest protocol possible!
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is hearing loss resulting from exposure to loud sounds. This can be a sudden intense “impact” sound or exposure to loud noise over an extended period of time. Noise-induced hearing loss can be immediate, or it can occur gradually over time, getting worse as you get older. It can occur in both ears, one ear and can be temporary or permanent.
Causes of noise-induced hearing loss
We measure sound in a unit known as decibels (dB). Normal conversational speech is usually between 50dB and 60dB - sounds louder than 85 dB can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter amount of time of exposure before a hearing loss results. You have a greater chance of suffering from noise-induced hearing loss if you are in an environment with extreme noises for any extended time. Examples include:
* Machinery/power tools
* Jet engines
* Lawn equipment
* Emergency vehicles/alarms
* Musical instruments
* Personal music players
* Sporting events
* Motorcycles/heavy traffic
Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss
When you are exposed to loud sounds over many years, hearing loss is usually very gradual and can be hard to detect until it becomes more pronounced. Symptoms will be similar to what you would experience with other types of hearing loss, including difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments, and muffled or distorted hearing.
Exposure to a loud “impulse” noise such as an explosive or gunfire at close range can cause immediate damage (also known as acoustic trauma). The damage may be temporary or, if intense enough, can be permanent. It is also possible for the eardrum to rupture from this impulse noise.
Tinnitus – the perception of sound such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, pulsing in the absence of outside stimulus - is another symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. Again, this may be temporary or permanent, and in one or both ears.
Treatment and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss
The good news is noise induced hearing loss is completely preventable. If you understand the hazards of noise and how to protect your hearing health, you can protect your hearing for life. Here are a few easy ways:
* Know the noises that can cause damage (85 dB or above)
* Wear earplugs or other protective devices when doing activities where you will be exposed to loud noise (earplugs and earmuffs are widely available at hardware and sporting goods stores)
* Be alert to hazardous noises in the environment
* Protect the ears of children
If you’re concerned you or someone you know is suffering from noise-induced hearing loss, schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional in your area. Hearing loss doesn’t have to be debilitating, find the best treatment for you today!
5 Things to Look for in an Audiologist
Finding an audiologist isn’t difficult, but finding the right audiologist is worth the research and time.
Hearing loss can leave you feeling vulnerable, but a good audiologist understands your concerns and will partner with you to find the best solution. So from basics like qualifications to the clinic’s location, and how empathetic the practitioner is; here are five things to look for when you select an audiologist.
1. Qualifications of the audiologist
There are a couple different types of hearing care professionals, but when it comes to the right one for your hearing loss and hearing aid needs, look for a qualified audiologist. Besides the high-level educational degree and extensive training, audiologists are required to continue their education when it comes to hearing care and evaluation. That means they will stay-up-to-date with the issues prevalent to the hearing health industry.
This means an audiologist takes a comprehensive interpretation of your lifestyle, hearing deficits and medical issues, in order to provide the most suitable treatment for your particular situation.
If you’re curious regarding the professionals at the practice you’ve selected, it is fine to ask directly: “What are the doctor’s qualifications?” Additionally, many audiology practices have credentials and staff bios listed on their websites.
2. Convenient location
Finding the right location, whether it’s close to home, work or another place you spend maximum time at, is essential when choosing an audiologist. Remember, fitting a hearing aid can require repeat visits, and if you struggle to get to the clinic this may deter you from having minor programming alterations made to the device. In turn, you won’t be receiving the best possible care the audiologist wants to provide.
While location isn’t the only thing to consider when you select your audiologist, many individuals don’t consider the lasting relationship you’ll build with this professional.
3. Friendly and helpful staff
Most audiology clinics pride themselves on being empathetic to people with hearing loss and taking time and patience to understand personal needs when making an appointment or discussing treatment. But to ensure you receive the best care possible, make sure you take note of how not only the audiologist handles himself, but the staff in the entire practice, as well.
4. Continuity of care
Hearing loss is personal, and to share your vulnerabilities with a stranger takes courage. Look for an audiology practice that aims for continuity so that you can get to know the professionals on staff. This helps you build a trusting relationship and allows you to confide in your audiologist and in turn, they can help you get the care you need on a specialized level.
5. Good reputation
Last but not least, check out the clinic’s reputation. Whether you read patient testimonials, ask friends and family, or consult with your primary care physician, it’s important to find out what others have to say about the audiologist you’re considering. Don’t worry, though! Reviews only paint part of the picture of an experience someone had; so if your frontrunner for hearing care has a few negative reviews, don’t instantly right them off. Instead, look to see what they had to say in return (if anything) or how they addressed the issue. These can be clues to the level of care and dedication you can expect from the office.
Selecting an audiologist is an important task and one you can be excited about! Once you find the right audiologist, you’re one step closer to better hearing!
How to Care for Your Ears
Hearing loss a widespread issue
Most people don’t think about ear health and in fact, may take it for granted. After all, approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused to exposure to loud noises, according to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The NIDCD also reports that as many as 16 percent of teens report some hearing loss likely caused from loud noises, such as listening to music too loud while wearing earbuds.
Besides reducing exposure to loud noises, there are many important tenants to maintaining overall ear health.
Cleaning your ears
One easy action to include in your daily cleaning routine to keep ears healthy is cleaning your ears, as well. Be sure to avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, such as a cotton swab. Doing so can create earwax impaction, making hearing loss worse. Instead, take a warm, moist cloth and wipe the ears gently. If earwax buildup is significant, consider purchasing over-the-counter eardrops to help remove the excess earwax.
If, when cleaning your ears, you notice an itching sensation, pain (especially pain that gets worse when tugging on the earlobe) or a plugged up/full sensation, you may be experiencing some sort of ear infection. Make sure to contact your family practitioner right away if you experience any of those symptoms. Untreated ear infections can also lead to hearing loss.
Protecting your ears
When you’re not cleaning your ears, it is important to maintain good ear health by protecting the ears from extremely loud noises, especially for long durations of time. If attending a concert or other loud arena event, bring earplugs with you to help reduce the exposure to the loud noises. It is also important to wear earplugs when engaging in chores, such as mowing the lawn or using a snow blower, as both of these appliances expose individuals to excess noise.
Speaking of snow — make sure to cover those ears up during cold spells. Exposure to extreme cold can increase your likelihood of catching colds, including ear infections.
When to see a hearing professional
While a magical pill isn’t available to help you maintain great ear health, these few steps will help reduce the impact of the environment, both inside and outside of your ears, bringing you the best ear health possible. If you still experience problems with your ears or hearing ability after following the above tips, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with a hearing care provider in your area!
4 FAQ’s About Ear Cleaning
So if that’s the case, do you actually need to clean your ears? If so, what should you do? What should you not do? Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions associated with ear cleaning.
* Should you use a cotton swab to clean your ears? No. You should not stick anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow. Cotton swabs are dangerous because they can push wax down into your ear canal causing an impaction or puncturing the eardrum. Additionally, you can scrape the sides of your ear canal or you could push the cotton swab in too far rupturing your eardrum altogether. Cotton swabs can be useful in other parts of your life and daily routine, such as applying makeup or removing nail polish, but they are not useful when it comes to cleaning your ears. They are more harmful than good in this situation.
* Is ear candling an effective way to remove wax build up? No. Ear candling is a very dangerous way to “clean” your ears. It has been shown that ear candling does not actually clean your ears, though it may look like it does. The candle is supposed to pull the toxins, dirt, debris and wax out of your year once it’s lit. However, most of the time, what is pulled out is just the wax from the candle itself. There may be some earwax present but not likely. Candling can cause serious damage to the inside of your ear canal by scraping or burning it, which can then lead to infection.
* Are over-the-counter (OTC) ear cleaning kits good to use? Yes and no. The best advice it to seek the opinion of your hearing care professional. They will be able to advise you on whether or not you need or should use these kits. They will also be able to instruct you on proper selection and use of these kits. It’s also a good idea to have your hearing specialist check your ears out for any kind of problem before using an OTC kit – this will ensure your ears aren’t damaged while using the remedy.
* How do you safely clean your ears? For the most part, you don’t need to worry about your ears. Your ears clean themselves all the time, every day. The wax that they create is not made just to drive you crazy. It is made to clean out any dirt, debris or foreign objects that are present in your ear canal. The wax moves and works its way up and out of your ear canal getting rid of the toxins in your ear at the same time. However, if you do feel that you have a wax build-up problem see your hearing health to have them take a look into your ears in order to determine if there is a wax problem and what treatment they recommend.
Our ears are incredibly complex and sophisticated when it comes to hygiene. If you feel like you need to keep your ears clean, take a dry or damp cloth and wipe the outer part of your ear after your bath or shower. This will help the outside ear remain clean and will remove anything your ear has pushed out of the canal.
3 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Audiologist
1. What kind of hearing loss does my child have and how severe it is? Please explain the terms to me.
Words like sensorineural, conductive and auditory neuropathy are foreign to the everyday person. If your audiologist is explaining your child’s hearing condition and these terms pop up, be sure to ask for definitions and simplified explanations. The more you understand about your child’s hearing condition, the better prepared you’ll be to stay involved in the treatment process and help them get the right care for years to come.
2. Is my child’s hearing condition permanent and will it change or get worse?
Some hearing conditions children are born with can be treated with surgery and therapy, while others will continue to require treatment and monitoring throughout the child’s lifetime. Your audiologist may not have all the answers for how your child’s body will respond, but they have the best knowledge and experience base to give you a realistic outlook and provide the most comprehensive treatment options as your child grows and his hearing needs change.
3. How will the hearing loss affect my child’s speech and language development?
If caught early enough, hearing conditions don’t have to interfere with a child’s early speech and language learning. The longer a hearing condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, the harder it will be for a child to make up for lost time, even after they receive surgery, hearing aids and speech therapy. Your audiologist will be honest with you about how your child’s hearing condition may or may not affect them as they grow older.
Discovering your child has a hearing problem isn’t easy, but with the right treatments, therapy and counseling from an experienced audiologist, children can live healthy, normal lives despite it. Seek out the answers to these questions during your first visit to make sure you’re ready to help your child in every way possible.
Types of Hearing Evaluations
If you’re like many, going to an appointment with an audiologist can be intimidating, mainly because many people do not understand what goes on during the visit.
Understanding what occurs during your first appointment with an audiologist can help reduce anxiety and provide peace of mind knowing that you’re not getting yourself into something scary.
What happens during an audiology appointment?
Keep in mind that an audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional who can test, diagnose and provide a solution for hearing loss. During your visit, you’ll undergo a series of tests that will help identify the type and degree of hearing loss you suffer from. Hearing tests determine:
* If hearing loss is present
* The cause of the hearing loss
* The degree of hearing loss
* If hearing loss is in one or both ears
* The best treatment options
Types of hearing tests
There are many types of tests and evaluations available to identify and diagnose hearing loss. The method an audiologist will use depends on a patient’s age, among other factors. Types of hearing tests include:
* Pure-tone test: This type of test will determine the faintest tone a person can hear at varying pitches, or frequencies. During the test, the patient wears earphones; the test will record information picked up through each earphone in order to determine the type and degree of hearing loss in each ear.
* Speech test: During a speech test, an audiologist will record the faintest speech an individual can hear. The results also record whether or not the patients can recognize the word. Speech testing can be conducted in a quiet or noisy environment.
* Middle ear test: Audiologists can use a battery of tests to determine if an individual has hearing loss due to issues with the middle ear. Such testing includes tympanometry (detection of fluid in middle ear), acoustic reflex measures, or static acoustic impedance, which provides information about the location of the hearing problem.
* Auditory brainstem response (ABR): This test provides the audiologist information about the inner ear and the brain pathways required for hearing. During an ABR evaluation, a patient will wear electrodes on his or her head. Sounds will be played but, unlike other tests, no physical response is required, as the electrodes pick up the brain’s response to the sound.
* Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs): Testing for otoacoustic emissions, or the sounds emitted by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated by sound, can determine if a person has normal or abnormal hearing.
Your audiologist wants to make sure you get the most out of your appointment, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or discuss any concerns with your professional. Your audiologist will be happy to talk through any steps you may be nervous or anxious about in full detail!
How to Treat Tinnitus
Having an issue like tinnitus, where perceived noises like chirping, whistling, buzzing or whooshing, are present, can be frustrating. When it comes with no treatment, the frustration can easily double. While there isn’t a set cure for tinnitus, there are many treatment options that can help reduce the tinnitus or make it easier to live with.
After being diagnosed with tinnitus by a healthcare professional such as a primary care physician or, more likely, an audiologist, a patient will be able to begin a pathway toward recovery. The treatment depends entirely on the cause of the tinnitus. The following causes of tinnitus are treated as such:
* Tinnitus caused by hearing loss is usually alleviated with hearing aids. Augmenting the reception and perception of noises often provides relief from the perceived internal sound caused by the tinnitus.
* Tinnitus caused by ototoxic medications is often cured with a change in medication. Sometimes, other medications or drug therapies can be used to counteract the ototoxic properties of a medication. This may be an option if a patient is taking a medication that is necessary for their health and well being.
* Tinnitus caused by internal issues, such as blood pressure or other cardiovascular issues can be alleviated with sound therapies. Sound therapies can mask the sound to help an individual deal with tinnitus on a day to day basis.
* Chronic tinnitus can be dealt with using behavioral therapies. Sometimes tinnitus can crate strong, negative emotions, including depression, anxiety and ager. Patients suffering from tinnitus can learn to control such emotional reactions and have morecompassion and patience.
* Tinnitus caused by jaw malformations, such as TMJ can be cured by attacking the TMJ problem. Such therapies include braces, mouth pieces, head gear and other orthodontia. These therapies may be able to eliminate or drastically reduce tinnitus symptoms.
4 Questions to Ask Your Audiologist
1. Where are you located?
While this may seem like a simple question and answer, it’s a good one to start off with. You want to make sure you select an audiologist with a location convenient to your home, work or school. In the event you are diagnosed with hearing loss and need hearing aids as treatment, you may need to visit your audiologist frequently in the first couple of months. Finding an audiologist located close to your home, work or school allows you to easily make appointments and not have to fight traffic or drive the opposite way. Additionally, find out if there are any charges for parking, if the parking lot is located on site or if it’s in a garage shared with a hospital or other office buildings. These minute details can make or break your first experience with an audiologist.
2. What are your hours of operation?
Are you easily able to take off work or school for an appointment, or do you require special hours? While some audiologists offer evening appointments during the week or open on Saturdays to better accommodate patients, some do not. If you require non-traditional hours, make sure you select an audiologist capable of meeting your needs.
3. What services do you offer?
Whether you’re seeing the audiologist for hearing loss, tinnitus or to have custom ear protection made, it’s important to find out if your audiologist specializes in the particular needs you require. While all audiologists are familiar or treat these kinds of issues, if you’re seeking certain hearing aid technology, tinnitus therapy or custom noise protection, it’s a good idea to select an audiologist who offers these services.
4. What payment plans do you offer?
While many insurance companies are beginning to provide coverage for hearing tests and exams, most still do not offer benefits when it comes to purchasing hearing aids. Talk to the audiologist you’re considering about what payment plans or credit lines the offer to ensure you’ll be able to comfortably afford treatment.
Selecting an audiologist is a big decision and you want to make sure you find one whose care you are comfortable and confident in. Talk more with your potential audiologist about what care and services they can offer you.
Headphones, Earplugs and Custom Hearing Protection
Noise-induced hearing loss
This type of hearing loss occurs when exposure to loud noise damages the hair cells in your ears. These cells are part of your cochlea. They aren’t really hairs, but look like hairs. They take incoming sound and convert it to the electrical impulses your auditory nerve sends to your brain. Damage to these cells is not reversible. When they are damaged, they are damaged. Much of the damage hair cells receive is due to exposure to loud noise. The exposure over a long period of time just makes the amount of hearing loss worse. Chainsaws, rock concerts and even hairdryers produce sounds at damaging levels. That’s why it is important to protect your ears.
When it comes to protecting your hearing, headphones do more than just protect you from noise that surrounds you. If you are a devoted music lover, headphones will allow you to hear a richer sound at a lower level than earbuds. Earbuds deliver the sound directly to your ear, but they do not block out the ambient noise. As a result, you turn the volume up. An iPod can go up to 103 decibels, far above what is safe. Headphones block out the surrounding noise. You can hear your music better and at a lower volume. Some headphones actually listen for noise in the environment and then cancel it out by preprocessing the signal.
In the workplace, headphones can fit over the ear or behind the neck. There are even models that attach to your hard hat. Headphones will not irritate your ear canals.
Earplugs for protection
Earplugs come in a wide variety of styles. There are reusable, disposable, banded and electronic earplugs on the market.
On the high end, electronic earplugs allow you to customize your protection based on your surroundings. Different modes offer different levels of protection so you can still hear conversation to keep you safe while still protecting your hearing. You can turn them on and off with ease.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are disposable bullet shaped plugs made of foam. These are made for single use and are a one size fits all item.
In between, you will find reusable foam plugs on cords for easy retrieval when they are removed. Vinyl half-moon shaped plugs block out harmful noise while remaining comfortable enough to wear for an entire shift.
Custom noise protection
If you are a professional musician or an avid shooter, talk to the audiologist about custom noise protection devices. These digital hearing protectors are made from a custom earmold, just like a hearing aid. They can be plain or fitted with electronics to help you hear the sounds you must hear while blocking out noise at harmful decibel levels.
What Happens at a Hearing Test
A physical examination
A hearing test appointment lasts about an hour. Your audiologist meets with you to discuss the tests prior to any examination, and then again after to discuss the results. The audiologist does more than just administer audio tests – they will physically examine your ears for any earwax blockages, infections, or past or present injuries. You’ll also be asked about any medications you take – some medicines can affect hearing.
Several hearing tests
Depending upon the findings of the physical exam, you may have two or more hearing tests. The most common tests performed are the pure tone test, the speech test, and the conduction test. A pure tone test checks how well you hear volume and pitch. You sit in a soundproof room and wear headphones. Tones are played in each ear – some loud, some soft, some high-pitched, some low-pitched. You identify the ear in which you hear the sound. The speech test involves repeating words back to the examiner. The words may be recorded or spoken live, and are spoken softly or whispered. A conductive test checks for nerve issues. A tuning fork may be used to determine how well your inner ear hears sound.
Consultation and results
Your audiologist shows you the results of your test and discusses any hearing loss. He or she provides a detailed printout with a chart showing where your hearing falls within normal range and where there may be issues. Remember, no one has perfect hearing! The audiologist takes these results along with the physical exam to determine how best to treat any hearing loss. Options may include earwax removal, hearing aids, or surgery.
If hearing aids are recommended, you will have a fitting during this appointment. During the consultation, you will learn the different types of hearing aids available and any options that are suited to improve your hearing. Some people leave the appointment with hearing aids while others require a custom-fit and a follow-up visit. You’ll visit your audiologist regularly to have your hearing aids checked and you will return annually for hearing tests.
Hopefully your anxiety level is reduced when you know what happens at a hearing test. These tests are painless and frankly, many people say their quality of life improves greatly with hearing aids. Hearing tests are performed on infants in the hospital after birth, and are recommended for children throughout the school years. After that, you should consider hearing tests every three to five years. If you’re over 60, you should have annual hearing checks.
4 Reasons to See an Audiologist
1. Excessive earwax
For many people, earwax takes care of itself. Our ears are actually self-cleaning and do the job of moving earwax away from the eardrum to the outer ear where it can be swept away. But some people produce more earwax than others. This commonly occurs in those who wear hearing aids or earplugs on a regular basis. The production of additional earwax can cause a painful build-up known as an impaction. Audiologists are able to remove an earwax impaction without causing damage or irritation to your ears.
2. Ringing in your ears
The American Tinnitus Association says nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some form of tinnitus. The condition causes you to hear a buzzing, ringing, whistling, hissing or swooshing sound in the ears when no external sound is present. Tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss and audiologists can help reduce ringing in the ears through treatment with hearing aids. They also diagnose and treat other tinnitus issues such as sinus pressure, head trauma, high blood pressure or TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).
3. Changes in your hearing
If you notice that you’re not hearing some sounds as well as you used to or that you are often turning up the volume on the television, you may have some hearing loss. Audiologists perform several hearing exams as well as a physical check to determine the cause of any hearing loss and how best to treat it. It’s important not to delay scheduling a hearing exam if you suspect that your hearing is diminishing. While aging is a major cause of hearing loss, audiologists also check for other issues related to hearing loss. It’s especially important to have a hearing examination if you notice a sudden change due to trauma or exposure to loud sounds.
4. For hearing aids
Audiologists are trained professionals with advanced degrees. Most audiologists hold a doctor of Audiology (Au.D) or similar degree. Because of their extensive knowledge of the ear, audiologists can provide the best advice and guidance when it comes to treating hearing loss. If you suspect you need hearing aids, see an audiologist for a hearing exam. Your audiologist will discuss the results with you and help you choose the best hearing aids for your budget and your lifestyle.
When it comes to your hearing, an audiologist provides comprehensive treatment and care. These four reasons to see an audiologist are the most common. If you have severe ear pain or sudden hearing loss, it’s best to see an audiologist or your primary health care provider as quickly as possible.
4 Signs You Need a Hearing Test
Hearing loss can be more difficult to spot than bad eyesight or physical damages. Nonetheless, problems with your ears can cause negativity in several daily interactions. Aside from the struggles with communication, it can even put your health at risk. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek professional help from an audiologist whenever those killer signs surface. Here are the ones to look for.
Turning up the TV volume
Some TV shows are broadcast with the sound volume equalized while others are far more lenient. As such, most people find themselves turning up the volume from time to time. Nonetheless, if you find yourself listening to the box at a higher level than you used to, it’s quite likely that you are suffering from a form of hearing loss.
Likewise, if you find that friends and family members comment on the high volume, it’s safe to assume that you don't hear things as clearly as you should. Booking a hearing test is imperative.
Struggling to communicate in public spaces
Hearing loss doesn’t always stop you from hearing people in quiet areas. In many cases, the ear-related damage is more likely to make it difficult to separate background noise from voices. Whether it’s a party atmosphere at a music gig or sitting on a plane, these issues are likely to take their toll on your enjoyment.
If you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves because you didn’t catch what they said, now is the time to get tested by an expert.
Ringing noises and buzzes
Hearing a continued or periodic noise is commonly referred to as tinnitus, and it’s a condition that can impact your daily life in a negative manner. Moreover, it’s an issue that is often a sign of lost hearing. Hearing aids can combat those noises, but the first step is to confirm that this is the right cause of treatment. Seeing a specialist is the only option.
Whether it’s hearing loss, tinnitus, or something else doesn’t matter. Getting seen ASAP is the only way to find the best solution. In turn, this’ll enable you to restore a sense of normality.
Not noticing daily sounds
The problem with hearing loss is that you often won’t notice anything unless someone points it out. However, if you sit back and analyze your life, it should be easy to spot whether there could be a problem. If you regularly fail to notice your phone text sounds and beeps on various household items, a hearing test is advised.
Similarly, if you fail to notice the emergency service vehicles until they are in sight, there could be a problem. Or if you can’t remember the last time you heard wildlife on a walk, this could be another crucial indicator.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, if you feel that a hearing test will be beneficial, now is the time to book it.
Four FAQs About Ear Cleaning
Is all earwax bad?
If you’ve had some evidence of wax in your ears, that’s no reason to start panicking about getting them cleaned. Some people produce too much earwax and that can become an issue, especially when it affects your hearing. In general however, earwax is important to the health of your ears, protecting them from dehydration and trapping bacteria and dust so that it doesn’t build up inside the ear. When it feels like your ear is plugged up or your hearing is becoming muffled in one ear, that’s a sign you have too much and you need a cleaning.
What happens if I don’t clean my ears?
There’s a good chance that nothing bad is going to happen if you don’t get an ear cleaning. Most people don’t produce any more earwax than is completely necessary and they can go their whole lives without it becoming an issue. However, when you do need your ears cleaned, it’s best to go to an audiologist. For one, you might suspect that earwax is the issue, but there could be other treatments necessary. What’s more, there are a lot of dangerous home cleaning methods that you should avoid.
What will an audiologist do for me?
Audiologists take different approaches to ear cleaning depending on what they see to be the issue. Carefully using tiny scoop-like instruments, they can shift some of the bigger, harder block-ups of earwax. In other cases, they can irrigate the ear with safe cleaning fluid. In some cases, especially where the wax has built deeper in the ear, they might use micro-suction tools, where a camera is used to guide the vacuum to suck out the wax. Different kinds of blockages need different kinds of treatments, and an audiologist is much more likely to tell which is necessary than the average person trying to clean their own ears.
Can I do it myself?
You can most definitely take some measures to clean your own ears. However, you need to be careful in how you do it. Oil drops sold specifically for cleaning ears are the safest home remedy there is, which help soften up the wax so that it breaks down and comes to the surface more naturally. What you should avoid is any intrusive means of cleaning, like using cotton swabs. Without the kind of precision and perspective an audiologist offers using their own scooping tools, it’s a lot more likely you will push wax down into the canal, worsening the issue and potentially even causing damage.
4 Signs You Have Tinnitus
Over 50 million people in the US suffer from tinnitus. It’s such a common condition and is caused by a plethora of different things. Most people suffer from tinnitus after being around loud noises for a long period of time - for example, attending a concert or working around loud machinery. However, it can also occur randomly, or be the result of an ear infection.
Tinnitus isn’t a serious medical condition, but it’s well worth seeing an audiologist if you have it. They can diagnose the type of tinnitus you have, and assess whether or not it’s permanent. In this blog post, we will be talking about four telltale signs you have tinnitus. If you spot any of these signs on yourself, then book an appointment with your audiologist today.
There’s a constant ringing in your ears
A major symptom of tinnitus is this persistent ringing sound in your ears. Most people describe this sound as a ringing one, but it can also be more of a whistling or buzzing sound. This can often happen after you’ve been exposed to loud noise, and the important thing to note is that other people can’t hear the same sound. If you’re the only one hearing it, then it’s happening inside your head.
You hear music when none is being played
This is a sign of a specific type of tinnitus often referred to as musical hallucinations. Essentially, you keep hearing little bits of music even though none is being played at all. If you’re watching TV or walking around a mall, then it can be easy to assume you just hear background music. So, check when you’re home alone and have no music playing. If the tunes persist, then it’s a telltale tinnitus sign.
You feel a thumping sound in your ears
Another sign of tinnitus is when there's a constant thumping sound in your ears. It’s almost like the sound of a bass guitar repeating over and over again. You’ll find that the thumping goes along to the same rhythm as your heartbeat as well. This is a sign of pulsatile tinnitus, which is something of a rare breed.
Your hearing has changed
Finally, a change in your hearing ability is another sign of tinnitus. Many people with this condition complain that they can’t hear as well as they used to, or that their ears are overly sensitive - particularly to loud or high-pitched sounds. While tinnitus doesn’t cause hearing loss and isn’t always an indication that you’re losing your hearing, it can still cause temporary issues inside your ears. So, if your hearing feels strange for a week or two, then it’s best to get checked out as you may have tinnitus.
Generally speaking, your symptoms will go away by themselves with time. Some cases of tinnitus last a couple of days, some last a few months. If you’re diagnosed with permanent tinnitus, then your audiologist will set you on a treatment plan to help calm the symptoms and make it less aggravating for you.
What is Tinnitus and How is it Treated?
Tinnitus is often described as a ringing sensation in the ear. Actually trying to describe it can be difficult because everyone experiences it in a different way. While a “ringing” sound is the most common way to explain it, some people would also attribute it to whooshing, hissing, whistling or even buzzing. Regardless of how one chooses to describe tinnitus, the effects are usually the same.
Tinnitus itself is often caused by hearing loss or other conditions that are related to damage in the ear. For instance, exposing yourself to loud noises could cause tinnitus, but neck and head injuries can also lead to tinnitus. There are also times where it can be related to a serious underlying medical condition. In some cases, people might even associate their tinnitus with music or singing.
Tinnitus can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. For instance, if someone is prone to using cotton swabs on their ear, then it could push earwax back into the canal and cause a buildup, leading to impacted earwax and also tinnitus. In addition, conditions like an inner or middle ear infection could also lead to tinnitus.
Is tinnitus a serious problem?
Although possible, tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. For most people, tinnitus comes and goes because their ears automatically adjust to it, but for others, it can become a life-long problem that doesn’t have an immediate solution. Tinnitus can become problematic once it has a significant impact on your life. For instance, if it causes you stress or if it distracts you from the noises around you.
There are no cures for tinnitus. It’s usually treated by identifying the underlying cause and finding ways to overcome it. If the underlying problem can’t be cured or identified, then there are ways to manage it such as wearing hearing aids that are recommended to you by an audiologist. However, your tinnitus will typically improve over time as your body adjusts to it and often requires no intervention.
Managing tinnitus is perhaps one of the most common ways to deal with the condition. This is often done with a combination of sound therapy, counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT aims to help change the way you think about your tinnitus in order to make it less noticeable to you. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is another type of therapy that helps to retrain the way your brain reacts to the tinnitus.
However, these types of therapy are only used if the underlying condition cannot be found or managed. In most cases, managing tinnitus will involve finding the root cause and dealing with that, but if the cause cannot be found then the next best solution is to focus on managing it with therapy.
While tinnitus can be a frustrating condition to deal with, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to deal with it if you speak to the right audiologist.
4 Signs You Need a Hearing Test
This begs the question: when is the best time to get a hearing test? More often than not, the best thing to do is wait until you see any of the four signs listed below:
You need to ask people to repeat what they say
This is a huge telltale sign that it’s time to see an audiologist and get your hearing checked out. If you’re continually saying pardon, or asking people to repeat themselves, then this shows your hearing is fading, especially if you’re having a conversation with multiple people and no one else is having trouble hearing what everyone is saying. If it takes two or three times for you to accurately hear what someone has to say, then you should probably book a test today.
Most people will watch TV, listen to the radio, or use any other devices that produce sound. If you keep turning the volume up as high as can be — because you can’t hear clearly — then that’s a sign you need a hearing test. A lot of devices, like smartphones, come with volume warnings when you turn it up too high. If you’re constantly going beyond these warnings, then that’s definitely a bad sign. There’s obviously no way of telling if you’ve gone too high or not when you watch TV, but a good indication is when other people keep complaining that you’ve got it up too loud.
Persistent ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus. This is a hearing problem that most audiologists treat on a daily basis. Tinnitus usually occurs when you listen to loud sounds for too long or are exposed to loud noises. While tinnitus doesn’t mean you have hearing loss, it can be a symptom. It’s worth getting a hearing test just to make sure that your hearing hasn’t suffered any permanent damage.
This is a sign that many people miss as you can usually still hear sounds, but the problem is that you don’t know where they’re coming from. If you were sat in a room with loads of noise going on around you, then it can be hard to pinpoint where the sound comes from. This is an indication that something is wrong with your hearing, and a test will help figure out what.
We highly suggest that you book an appointment to see an audiologist if you’ve noticed any of these signs recently. Or, going forward, if you start to notice them, then take a hearing test as soon as can be. The sooner you take the test, the sooner you can find out if you have any hearing loss, and the sooner you can sort it out.
When Should You See an Audiologist?
Many people have a difficult time recognizing their hearing issues because it usually develops gradually. However, if you’ve been experiencing any of the following issues, schedule a visit with your local audiologist.
You are experiencing gradual hearing loss
Yes, this one is obvious, but given how many people are in denial about their hearing, it is important to note. Though gradual hearing loss can be difficult to spot as soon as you notice a problem, you should always book an appointment to see your audiologist to see what is going on.
There are many causes of hearing loss and diagnosing these will help find the right treatment.
You have sudden hearing loss
Sudden loud noises or changes in pressure can cause you to have sudden hearing loss and you must always consult an audiologist if this happens. Trauma to the ear must be assessed and diagnosed as quickly as possible to help mitigate any damage and to start a treatment plan.
You are struggling to balance
The inner ear isn’t just about hearing, your balance is also managed here. Vertigo or symptoms such as dizziness may be an indication that there is a problem in your inner ear and should be treated carefully. While these symptoms are most often caused by a virus, it is vital that you get checked over to rule out other possibilities.
Your ears are ringing
There are some instances where ringing ears are completely normal. For example, if you have been on a night out in a loud bar, your ears are likely to ring afterwards. However, in most cases, your ears should stop ringing after a few hours.
If your ears have been ringing for a much longer period of time, you should always go to see your audiologist as you may be experiencing tinnitus. Your audiologist will be able to diagnose your condition and may also be able to give you a masking device or specialized hearing aid to reduce your symptoms.
One of the most common reasons for ear discomfort is impacted earwax. This is where too much earwax has made it down to the eardrum and is causing pressure. An audiologist will be able to diagnose this problem with test and can treat you quickly to relieve the pressure by removing the wax using specialist tools. You should never try to remove excess wax yourself as you may cause further damage. Avoid cleaning your ears with cotton swabs too.
The Most Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Turning up the TV
You might have to turn the TV or radio up to a higher volume just so you can hear what the people are saying. It might be the case that other people have come into your room and told you that it is too loud and they can hear it through the walls. If you are finding that you need things to be extremely loud for you to hear them, you need to acknowledge this as a sign of hearing loss and should make an appointment with your audiologist to address the problem.
People may be getting harder to hear. You might think that they are talking quieter than they used to and that’s why you can’t hear them. So, you ask them to speak up and repeat what they said, but you might find yourself doing this three or four times before you can clearly understand them. Asking people to repeat themselves constantly is another sign of hearing loss.
Conversation sounds muffled
Another common symptom of hearing loss is that you think people sound muffled when they are talking to you. Because hearing loss can impact different pitches and frequencies, you may struggle to hear women and children or simply hone in on conversation when surrounded by background noise. If you find that this is happening to you, then you should make an appointment to see an audiologist so they can properly diagnose and treat your condition.
Ringing in your ears
If you are experiencing ringing in your ears, or tinnitus, then this may be a sign of hearing loss. In this case, it may be temporary or it could be the first sign that your hearing is deteriorating. Only an audiologist will be able to help you determine which it is but you should seek help quickly if this is happening to you. Tinnitus may not only impact your hearing, but it may start to affect you emotionally as it can become very hard to live with if it is constant. Seek help when you first notice this ringing, as the quicker you get it checked, the better.
Ear-Cleaning Methods to Avoid
While ear drops are popular among people who don’t like to put physical things in their ears, but they don’t just do the job that you think they’re doing. Ear drops don’t just remove the wax from your ear. Instead, it breaks it down and makes it softer so that the wax can come out naturally. But the use of ear drops can come with a variety of risks and one of these is an infection. If you are using these drops constantly, you are putting yourself at higher risk to get an ear infection. This is going to be especially likely if there is any form of bacteria on the injector when you put the drops in.
Instead of doing this, you should visit your audiologist and ask them to clean your ears out properly for you. You won’t just get a professional clean, but this way is a lot safer than other methods.
This is the most common method that people use when trying to clean their ears. However, if you insert these cotton buds too far in, you are at risk of causing damage to your inner ear. As well as this, they are large pieces of cotton being inserted into your ear, which often means that you are pushing the earwax deeper into your ear, rather than cleaning it out. This will mean that in the end, the wax buildup will be so bad that removing it is going to be much more difficult than if you would have got it cleaned by an audiologist in the first place.
This is another popular method to clean your ears. These are small instruments that are inserted into your ear to scoop out the wax. What many people don’t realize is that the ear is very delicate and even the slightest wrong move could cause damage to your inner ear. Or, you could have picked up various forms of bacteria if you have not cleaned them properly when you used it previously. Any small metal objects should be kept out of your ears at all times. Consult your audiologist about the best ways to clean your ears. Or, get a professional ear cleaning appointment to make sure that everything is done in the safest possible way.
Innovative Hearing Protection
There are all kinds of innovative new ways to protect your hearing. We’re going to look at a variety of situations in which you might need to protect your hearing. We’ll then discuss the variety of options available to you when choosing the best hearing solution out there for each of those situations.
Industrial hearing protection
There’s a range of different needs when choosing hearing protection for industrial uses. Industrial ear protection comes in many forms and the level of protection offered must be dictated by the decibels you’re going to be exposed to when working. The basic level of protection is generally offered by earmuffs and then earplugs of various kinds.
Earmuffs that are attached to a safety helmet are often used in industries when there’s a risk of falling objects and things like that. Stronger hearing protectors are also available for industrial workers. The strongest levels of protection are required for people working in airports, police and military settings. This is when 140+ dBs can be regularly reached. In factory settings and the construction industry, 70-90dBs is usually the norm.
Hearing protection for motorcyclists
The wind rushing past your eyes when you drive your motorcycle at 50 mph can have a significant impact on your hearing. The sound levels associated with that can surpass 100dBs, which is pretty shocking to many. That’s why it’s so important to use hearing protection whenever you’re riding a motorcycle. Hearing loss and damage will occur if you ride a motorcycle regularly without protection.
General hearing plugs are generally used by motorcyclists who want to protect their hearing better, but there are some more advanced options entering the market right now. For example, some biker earplugs now come with ceramic filters that offer more protection against dangerous levels of noise. It’s important that these are designed in a way that still makes it possible for bikers to hear sirens from emergency services vehicles too though.
Hearing protection for musicians
Musicians also need to be protected from very loud noises because they’re often standing on stage next to huge speakers. That proximity to speaks puts their hearing at risk and it’s not at all uncommon for musicians to experience tinnitus as a result. Hearing protection tailored to the needs of musicians has come a long way in recent years, with protection becoming more comprehensive than ever before.
Custom and made-to-fit hearing protection is most commonly used by musicians. These types of earplugs allow performers to block out all the noise and that’s possible because the plugs they’re using are specifically designed to fill their ear and we all have different shaped ears. Specialists make these just for musicians and they can block out quite a lot of noise. Dynamic molds tend to be used by singers because they don’t interfere with jaw movement at all, which is obviously key for singers.
General use earplugs
There are all kinds of situations in which you might want to use earplugs to protect your hearing better. Staying on the topic of live music, it’s not just the musicians who are at risk. People who attend live shows regularly and who are often exposed to very loud speakers also need to be protected. That’s especially the case for people standing near the stage where the sound is loudest and potentially most damaging.
There are all kinds of options out there. It’s always good to have your own pair of general-use, all-purpose earplugs that you feel comfortable with. Some people find that they help when they’re on planes and things like that too. They’re useful whenever your ears are going to be strained.
What is 'Ringing in the Ears?'
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that causes an individual to hear sounds that have no physical source; essentially, the sound is coming from inside of someone's ear, rather than the individual hearing an external sound.
What type of sounds do people with tinnitus hear?
The types of sounds caused by tinnitus tend to vary, with ringing sounds perhaps the most common – hence why "ringing in the ears" is often used as a synonym for tinnitus itself. However, tinnitus can also cause a range of other sounds; buzzing, humming, clicking, whistling, beeping and hissing are all fairly common.
The volume of the sounds produced by tinnitus tend to vary between individuals; some will hear loud noises, others fainter, more distant sounds – or perhaps both loud and quiet sounds, depending on the time of day. In addition, tinnitus can also be near-constant, or only occur – or be noticeable – occasionally.
How does living with tinnitus affect a person's life?
Tinnitus is a disruptive condition that can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. The sounds an individual hears are a distraction and can cause issues such as loss of focus, insomnia (and resulting fatigue), anxiety, stress or depression.
What causes tinnitus?
In some cases, tinnitus does not always have an identifiable source – the condition appears, and disappears, over time without explanation.
However, tinnitus is often a sign of several underlying causes, including – but not limited to - the following:
* Hearing loss: There is a high comorbidity between hearing loss (that is either age-related or noise-induced) and tinnitus.
* Ear injury or damage: Injuries can cause both short and long-term damage to the ear, which can result in tinnitus.
* Ear infections: Tinnitus can develop as a result of fluid buildup inside the ear or infection-related swelling.
* Tumors: Tumors – which can be either benign or malignant – can cause be a cause of tinnitus in some individuals.
* Hypertension: Otherwise known as high blood pressure, people with hypertension can develop tinnitus as a secondary symptom.
* Anemia: People with low levels of red blood cells can develop tinnitus, again as a secondary symptom.
* Side effects from other treatments. In some cases, tinnitus can be a side effect of treating other health conditions; for example, some chemotherapy drugs have been linked to tinnitus.
Both. For individuals who are experiencing tinnitus as a result of an injury to their ear, infection, or conditions such as anemia or hypertension, the tinnitus may resolve when its primary cause has been successfully treated.
However, tinnitus can also be chronic, especially if hearing loss is the suspected cause of the condition.
How is tinnitus treated?
The first route most people explore when seeking to manage tinnitus is to identify and treat the underlying cause. For example, if an individual is experiencing as a result of hypertension, then treating the hypertension will be the main priority, with the hope being that resolving the primary issue will also see the tinnitus resolve.
If treating the underlying condition does not provide relief, then attention tends to turn to managing the tinnitus itself. Unfortunately, tinnitus cannot be directly 'cured,' especially in cases where the specific cause is unknown. As a result, the focus is primarily on management.
There are a variety of different ways that tinnitus can be managed, but perhaps the most popular is a combination of masking techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People can wear hearing aids that are equipped with tinnitus masking capabilities, which works by effectively preventing the person from clearly noticing the tinnitus-related sounds. In addition to using tinnitus masking, people can attend CBT to help control their mental and emotional response to living with tinnitus, which many people find to be highly effective.
Also, some people with tinnitus combine masking and CBT with small lifestyle changes; drinking less alcohol, focusing on relieving stress, and even acupuncture can all be helpful in this regard.
What should you do if you suspect you are experiencing tinnitus?
Speak to your audiologist if you are experiencing tinnitus, especially if you have already been diagnosed with hearing loss.
For those who experience it, tinnitus is an undeniably troubling condition. However, with the right treatment, it can be successfully controlled to a point where people with tinnitus can enjoy an excellent quality of life.
Are You Losing Hearing in One Ear?
What are the symptoms of unilateral hearing loss?
The main symptom of unilateral hearing loss is an inability to hear clearly, but only in one ear. Individuals with the condition may only hear muffled sounds or, in some cases, cannot hear anything at all in the affected ear. As a result, those experiencing the condition may have to turn the volume up on media devices or ask friends and family to repeat statements frequently throughout a conversation.
In addition to the above, there are some symptoms that those with unilateral hearing loss particularly seem to experience. Many begin to favor their unaffected ear, to the point where they will turn their head to follow sounds with the unaffected ear. In addition, many people with unilateral hearing loss find it particularly challenging to follow conversations in a busy environment; this symptom can occur in bilateral hearing loss but is especially noticeable when only one ear is affected.
As with bilateral hearing loss, there are two different types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear and or hearing-related nerves. It is most commonly caused by:
• Frequent exposure to loud noises (known as noise-induced hearing loss)
• Medication side effects
• Ménière's disease (a disorder of the inner ear, which also causes balance issues and tinnitus)
Obstructive hearing loss involves the passage of sound being blocked by some form of obstruction in either the middle ear or the ear canal itself. Common causes of obstructive hearing loss include:
• Ear infections
• Tumors within the ear
• Injury to the ear
What are the treatment options for unilateral hearing loss?
First and foremost, you will need to visit a hearing health professional to identify the cause of your unilateral hearing loss, as this will govern the direction of any future treatment. In some cases, unilateral hearing loss can be remedied simply by solving the cause of the condition; for example, if you have an ear infection, then a course of antibiotics should clear the infection and allow your hearing to return as a result.
However, many cases of unilateral hearing loss are simply a case of a person experiencing hearing loss related to age or noise exposure, but for some reason, are only affected in one ear. If you or your audiologist suspects that this may apply to you, then you will usually first undergo a hearing test to confirm the diagnosis, and a suitable treatment plan will be recommended. Most commonly, the same treatment that is used for bilateral hearing loss will be suggested: a hearing aid.
How do hearing aids for unilateral hearing loss work?
The hearing aid you will require depends on the cause of your hearing loss.
For sensorineural hearing loss, simply wearing a single, conventional hearing aid is an option. However, there are also specific hearing aids designed for people with unilateral hearing loss. These hearing aids utilize a system called Contra-Lateral Routing of Signal (CROS), which works as follows:
• A receiver is fitted to the ear without hearing loss.
• A microphone is fitted to the ear that is experiencing hearing loss.
• When a sound is heard by the receiver, it is transferred to the microphone sitting in the affected ear, which gives the user the impression that the sound is being heard in both ears.
A similar system, known as BiCROS, can be used in instances of unequal hearing loss - for example, if your left ear has mild hearing loss, but your right ear has severe hearing loss.
Your audiologist will be able to discuss which of the above options might be most suitable for you, which is why it's crucial you seek treatment if you notice any symptoms of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can have several impacts on your life, including health, emotional, personal and professional. Luckily, there are a variety of hearing aids available – in different styles and sizes – that can help you hear your best again.
Protecting Against Extreme Noise
Well, this is likely since people are not taking the necessary precautions and protecting their hearing as well as their ears. Any sound over 80 decibels has the potential to permanently harm your hearing. This is going to be more likely if you are regularly exposed to the sound or if you are exposed to the sound for a long time. Louder noises are also far more likely to harm your hearing.
Sounds that fall into this category include the noise of a train passing close by, a jet engine, a road drill and a music concert. As such, in your personal and professional life, you could regularly be exposed to noises like this. So, how can you protect your hearing?
Careful with devices
You need to make sure that you are using devices in your personal life the right way. The classic example would be a portable listening device. This is particularly dangerous as it will blast sound directly into your ear. You may not be aware that most devices do allow you to set the volume at a safe volume and will even tell you what this is. This won’t usually be set automatically but you can take this step yourself. This means that you won’t be able to turn up the device over a fixed volume when your favorite song starts to play. It can certainly help protect your ears.
Of course, it’s not just personal devices. Even listening to the car radio can be dangerous. You must make sure that you are not constantly turning up the volume on your drive to work or morning commute. Eventually, this will be loud enough to impair your hearing.
You should also try and avoid environments with loud noises where possible. Imax theaters proudly boast that they can replicate the noise of a jet engine taking off. The reason for this is that the sound levels are often high. At the very least you should limit how often you are visiting a business like this. Of course, sometimes sounds like this are unavoidable. That’s when you need protective devices for your hearing.
There are a few different options when it comes to protecting your hearing from loud noises. For instance, you can consider selecting earmuffs. The benefit of earmuffs is that they will completely cover your ear. They provide a layer of foam and a layer of plastic or similar material. They won’t allow any sound in which also means that you won’t be able to hear quieter sounds. This can be useful on job sites but is not much of an advantage where you want to hear people talking or other types of noise.
For that you’ll need something like earplugs. Earplugs only provide the foam layer and are not as nearly as advanced as similar options on the market. They aren’t often used much for protecting your hearing and instead are typically chosen for preventing annoying noises. However, they do limit the sound that you can hear significantly and can provide a certain level of protection.
Earbuds are often the best choice for general use when protecting your hearing. These will mold to fit your ear and provide an airtight seal. However, rather than blocking the sound completely, you will still be able to hear. But the weight of the noise will be removed. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about potential significant damage which is fantastic. These can be made of material that automatically molds or they can be custom designed for the shape of your ear. You can speak to your audiologist about this.
Remember, that devices like this won’t just protect your ears from hearing loss. You can also avoid issues with tinnitus that can develop after being exposed to loud noises.