Top tips for looking after your ears
Our expert Audiologist, Peter Athawes offers his top tips on looking after your ears, from how to keep your ears clean right through to choosing the right ear practitioner.
Peter runs weekly ear clinics across Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire.
“Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear”
We’ve all heard this at some point and it’s absolutely true! The ear canal lining and eardrum are very delicate structures that are best left well alone. Using cotton buds, fingernails, hair grips etc will risk impacting wax further, cause infection or hearing impairment
But how do I clean my ears?
Do not fear, the ear canal has its very own self-cleaning mechanism, known as epithelial migration. New skin is formed at the centre of the eardrum and then very gradually grows outwards towards the ear canal entrance bringing small pieces of wax with it.
Besides, earwax acts as a lubricant, provides a protective barrier against foreign bodies and even has antibacterial properties so perhaps we should all view this oily substance with a kinder eye.
For those that experience problems with wax build-up, it can be worth initially trying drops such as sodium bicarbonate and if this does not work, seeing a professional for microsuction.
Go easy on the volume
Whether it be listening to your favourite album or a having a go at hanging a shelf, just give a thought to your ears. Unfortunately, if exposed to too much noise, the sensory cells within our hearing organs can become damaged and do not regenerate. This can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Get yourself a pair of ear defenders for those DIY chores
- If you love your concerts consider investing in a pair of custom-made earplugs
- Keep an eye on the volume levels on your smart device. You may receive automatic alerts if you are listening to audio at too high a level for too long through headphones. Take a look at your sound options under settings.
Have regular hearing tests
From the age of 50 onwards it is advisable to have your hearing tested roughly every three years so that hearing loss is detected early. It can then be monitored and improved upon if deemed necessary. There are many benefits to managing hearing loss in midlife rather than leaving it too late.
Hearing loss and the links to dementia
Getting through the day with a hearing loss can be a challenge. When your brain receives only parts of what is being said it has to work harder to ‘fill in’ the missing pieces of the puzzle. If the brain is having to work harder on hearing, it has less time to spend on other tasks like memory and problem-solving. Hearing loss is linked with social isolation, loneliness and depression, which are shown to significantly increase the risk of dementia.
Whilst hearing loss cannot yet be cured, it can be improved and managed through the use of hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids can make communicating in social activities easier. Therefore, an individual is more likely to engage and participate, providing more stimulation to the brain. The brain is less likely to become overworked’ if it is receiving information it can understand. Hearing well leads to a healthier and better quality of life.
How to choose a hearing practitioner
Deciding on the right hearing aid can seem quite daunting at first and it is important that you receive the right guidance. At Private GP Clinic we are independent, with clinics across Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and into London, meaning we are not owned by or committed to a specific hearing aid manufacturer. This means we can provide open and honest advice on what hearing aid will suit you and give you the best help with your hearing.
You will want to ensure that you are seen by a fully qualified hearing specialist. At Private GP Clinic you will be seen by an experienced hearing aid audiologist with a first-class BSc degree in Audiology who is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA).
Undergoing a detailed hearing consultation is crucial in order to discover exactly the effect your hearing loss is having on your life and those around you. An experienced hearing aid audiologist will be able to explore your hearing and medical history with you and carry out a full battery of diagnostic tests in order to determine whether onward referral for further medical investigation is necessary.
When choosing a hearing practitioner, it is important to clarify whether a provider objectively verifies hearing aid performance using real-ear measurement. A hearing aid is a sophisticated medical device that can be programmed to a specific hearing loss and ear canal acoustics. By placing small microphones close to the eardrum an audiologist can measure exactly what an individual is receiving and adjust the hearing aid output to a set of specific targets. Evidence shows that hearing outcomes are likely to be better if hearing aids are programmed to an individual’s prescription. With Private GP Clinic your hearing aids will be verified to your individual prescription at the initial fitting and at future hearing reassessments along your hearing journey.
Which hearing aid is right for me?
Hearing aid devices come in all shapes, sizes and technology levels so can cater for a variety of different user requirements. A tailored approach is needed and when it comes to decision-making, a number of factors should be considered such as:
- Severity of hearing loss. Certain devices offer greater levels of power and flexibility.
- An individual’s speech-in-noise test result. If testing indicates a reduced ability to understand speech-in-noise, hearing aids with directional microphone technology and other wireless microphones accessories like the Starkey Table microphone might be advised.
- Ear anatomy. The shape and size of someone’s ear may rule out certain hearing aid styles.
- Hand dexterity and whether or not an individual would be able to handle and maintain a specific hearing device. The Signia Insio Charge and Go AX custom hearing aid can be an excellent choice for ease-of-use whilst offering premium sound quality.
There are other factors that are more personal to you that you may wish to consider like:
- Is discretion important to me? At Private GP Clinic we supply the smallest custom-made in-canal hearing aids on the market such as the Phonak Virto Paradise Titanium.
- Do I want rechargeable technology? We offer both rechargeable and disposable battery devices. There are pros and cons to both which your Hearing Aid Audiologist will discuss with you.
- Do I want to stream audio and phone calls from my devices? We can provide you with hearing aids that offer bluetooth connectivity to both Apple or Android products.
very good clinicians and reception staff
Very professional and efficient.
I would highly recommend.
Good friendly clinic
Very pleasant, helpful staff, painless
Very impressed with the service received. Same day appointment. Would highly recommend
Painless and relaxing
Many thanks for my appointment at such short notice
Rapid access, convenient and quick appointments.
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