Our top 3 tips for protecting your hearing
As professional audiologists, here at Nathan Gluck Hearing Care we understandably come into contact with a wide variety of different hearing ailments ranging from simple earwax blockages, to chronic and life altering conditions.
While the latter is thankfully the rarer of the two there are still many out there suffering from hearing loss conditions that were totally avoidable. To try and thin these numbers out, we’re going to take you through our top 3 tips to protecting your hearing, and hopefully avoid the need for you to visit our clinics for anything more than a hearing test.
Keeping your ears professionally clean
The first step to keeping anything in working order is to take good care of it, and your ears are no different. A huge portion of our patients walk into our North London clinics complaining of hearing loss that is actually the result of an excessive buildup of earwax. This can be the result of a lack of cleaning or of improper cleaning.
Earwax buildups cause hearing loss by forming a physical barrier in the ear canal that soften or completely block the sound vibrations recorded by your eardrum. In the worst cases this can cause a startling loss of hearing that would give the impression of something much more severe occurring within the ear.
Fear not, as resolving an earwax buildup is as easy as booking an earwax microsuction appointment. The microsuction process is a quick, clean and safe method whereby a professional audiologist uses a low pressure vacuum to remove any plugs of earwax from the ear canal.
To the uninitiated this may sound like a traumatic experience, but in reality the only sensation experienced by the patient is a gentle pressure as the earwax is removed, followed by an immediate improvement in hearing that far outweighs any perceived discomfort. In our practices we have observed that 94% of our microsuction procedures are successful on the first attempt, without any prior softening or preparation.
As there is often no necessity for softening the wax prior to the procedure we can have our patients in and out within 30 minutes, making microsuction not only safer and cleaner than syringing but also infinitely more convenient! This, combined with our commitment to offer 95% of our patients same day appointments makes keeping your ears clean and safe as simple as possible.
The caveat to cleanliness
While we urge everyone to keep their ears clean, we implore you to do it professionally. One of the most common causes of an earwax buildup, and even serious lasting hearing damage, is trying to clean your ears at home.
The audiologist’s arch enemy is the cotton bud or “Q tip”. These inexpensive household items are an excellent way to clean the nooks and crannies of your outer ear, and should never be placed any further inside. In extreme cases it is possible to permanently damage your hearing by poking around with what is, as far as your eardrum is concerned, a stick with a highly abrasive substance on the end of it. You wouldn’t poke yourself in the eye with a cotton bud, so why subject your ears to the same treatment?
The more common outcome of over inserting a cotton bud however is forcing earwax further down your ear canal to a point where it builds up into a plug, and brings us back to you requiring earwax microsuction.
We won’t go into details on any other home remedies, only to say that they are all inadvisable. Ear candles, sluicing many other techniques are recommended by lots of people around the world, none of whom are hearing professionals. The only hearing treatments you should be administering in the home are the ones prescribed by a professional audiologist.
Get regular hearing checkups
In many cases of hearing loss its effects are compounded over a long period of time, meaning the sufferer might not realise that they are suffering! There are relatively few instances of “suddenly going deaf” when compared to the number of patients that have simply realised that they have been turning the volume on the TV up more and more frequently.
The best way to combat this, and to prevent any further hearing loss is to stay informed of how your ears are performing. The best way to do this is to book regular hearing checkups with your local audiologist. By having your hearing checked every month, 6 months or year (frequency depending on how likely your hearing is to degrade), you can accurately track whether your hearing is as strong as ever, or if there is a steady downward trend.
Just like visiting the dentist is the best way to find out how well you’re brushing your teeth, and seeing an optician will inform you if you’re spending a little too much time staring at screens, booking regular hearing consultations is one of the best ways to be sure that your lifestyle isn’t outrunning the measures you take to protect your ears.
For many, booking time for a hearing consultation finds itself low on the priority list, with little time in the week to lay aside to go for your checkup. Here at Nathan Gluck Hearing Care we don’t want anybody to go without the care they need, so we keep our practice open from Sunday through to Friday every week and usually until 8pm or even later. This means that we can offer our patients hearing appointments when it’s convenient for you. We’re ready and waiting.
Hearing appointments in the home
There are those who have every intention of getting regular hearing checks but simply cannot make it to our clinic. For those local to us, we also offer a home visit hearing appointment service, where we bring our clinic to you.
As part of these services we offer the same hearing tests, hearing aid advice and earwax microsuction procedures to those living in the N, NW, HA, EN and WD postcodes.
Protect your hearing while at work or play
There are too many professions and hobbies that have an element of loud noises to name them all, but if you know you are exposed to them then you should be taking the proper precautions.
Machinery, engines, tools, gunfire and explosions are all cases of “obvious” loud noises, but even the most simple of passions like listening to your favourite music can lead to long lasting hearing damage if you have your headphones cranked up to 11.
For your hobbies the protection of your hearing falls to you, either through active hearing protection systems like ear defenders or passive methods like making sure you keep the volume at a sociable level. If you aren’t sure if something is dangerously loud, get the opinion of others, and air on the side of caution.
In the workplace there should already be measures in place under the health and safety at work act of 1974, to ensure that no employees are overly exposed to loud noises. If you are unsure then it is best to seek the advice of a professional. You can also view the HSE webpage on the topic here.
One of our “extracurricular” services is providing industrial hearing tests, to determine whether or not employees are at risk in the workplace. These tests generate a report on exactly what measures must be taken to keep everyone safe. Where hearing protection is required, we also offer a range of fully customisable systems that will provide a much greater degree of efficiency than a “one size fits all” solution
As with cleaning your ears, it is best to determine how to actively protect them by speaking to an expert, as simple guesswork may lead to more harm than good.
Who to speak to
Nathan Gluck Hearing Care’s team of audiologists is always on hand to answer the questions or queries of our clients and patients. If you are concerned about the condition of your hearing, or simply want to take proactive steps toward preserving it, then book a same day hearing appointment at one of our North London clinics today!