The 14 most common questions ear specialists get asked

Mar 08, 2017 in Hearing Care

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If you think your hearing isn't what it used to be, it might be time to visit to your local audiologist to have your hearing assessed. But before you do, you’ve probably got a few questions. Here are the most common questions our Leightons audiology professionals are asked.

How do I know if my hearing is going?

If you struggle to hear conversations, often ask people to repeat what they’ve said or find yourself needing to turn up the TV, then you could be suffering from hearing loss. Don’t worry – it’s very common and there are plenty of treatments available from your local qualified audiologist (an ear doctor – the ear equivalent of an optician). Around 11 million people in the UK have some kind of hearing loss, so you’re not alone.

What is an audiologist?

Audiologists are ear specialists who can assess, diagnose and treat hearing conditions. They determine what kind of hearing loss you have and recommend the best course of treatment. If you’ve noticed any loss of hearing, ringing in your ears or trouble with your balance (vertigo), you should see your audiologist as soon as possible.

How often should I have my hearing tested by an audiologist?

Hearing problems tend to develop slowly over time. In fact in the UK it takes patients an average of ten years to address their hearing loss. If you’re over 50, we recommend you have a hearing test once a year to give you the best chance of monitoring any changes in your hearing. Just like your eyesight and teeth, regular hearing check-ups are strongly advised.

What can I expect to happen at a hearing test?

Your ear specialist will start by asking you about lifestyle factors that could affect your ears. At Leightons, we offer free hearing tests, including video otoscopy, which creates a detailed image of your outer ear, eardrum and ear canal. You’ll also receive a pure tone audiometry test and various speech tests including speech-in-noise tests. These all help your Leightons ear specialists build a comprehensive hearing health report and determine the best treatment for your ears. Book your free hearing test today.

Can my ear specialist make home visits?

Yes. We use specialist portable equipment to provide a full hearing assessment in the comfort of your own home. Our home appointments cover advanced video otoscopy, live speech mapping, tinnitus advice, wax removal and hearing aid consultations.

If I have hearing loss, what can I do?

Some people try to live with hearing loss, especially if it’s mild. But hearing aids – small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear that amplify sound and help correct your hearing loss – are a very popular way to make life much easier. Hearing aids use a sensitive built-in microphone to ‘listen’ for sounds, which are then presented to the ear via a small speaker.

How do I know if I need a hearing aid?

Hearing aids help you hear day-to-day sounds like conversations, the telephone, radio and TV. By improving your hearing, hearing aids also help restore your confidence in social situations. They’re also important for safety, helping you hear important signals and alerts, for example, oncoming traffic and alarms.

What kinds of hearing aids are available?

Hearing aids are available in a huge array of shapes, sizes and types, from simple amplifiers to advanced digital processors and even models with Wi-Fi connectivity. Many hearing aids automatically adapt to the different scenarios an individual may encounter, such as a quiet living room, music or a crowded restaurant.

As part of Leighton’s free hearing test and full hearing assessment, we can also provide a free hearing aid demonstration on any of the latest digital hearing aids.

What if I don’t get along with my hearing aid?

Alongside our free hearing aid demonstration, we also offer a 30-day free trial. Once you’ve found a hearing solution that suits you, we offer free aftercare in-branch or at home. We include 6 monthly hearing check-ups, plus three years of free batteries for your hearing aid and up to five years manufacturer’s warranty.

Advances in technology and design means that today’s hearing aids are effective, comfortable and discreet. Nonetheless, the most important part is to make sure you are happy and confident with your hearing aid and overall ear care. Your audiologist will take all the time you need to ensure they are perfect for your requirements.

What type of hearing loss do I have?

There are two main types of hearing loss conditions – sensorineural and conductive. Sensorineural, or age-related, hearing loss is the most common.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the result of damage to the hair cells within the cochlea or the hearing nerve. Damage to the cochlea can occur naturally as part of the ageing process – a type of sensorineural hearing loss called presbycusis is becoming increasingly common as we all live longer. It can also be caused by some medications, genetics, head injuries, or exposure to loud noises. Hearing aids are the primary course of action.

Conductive hearing loss can be caused by conditions such as excess earwax, ear infection, or a ruptured eardrum. Depending on its cause, conductive hearing loss can either be temporary or permanent.

What’s the best way to get rid of earwax?

Earwax build-up can cause earache, hearing loss, balance problems and tinnitus. Fortunately, excess earwax is usually easily removed. Your local Leightons branch offers a variety of earwax removal techniques, including water irrigation and microsuction. For more information and to book an appointment, call us on 0800 40 20 20 or visit your nearest branch.

What is tinnitus?

If you hear noises in one or both ears, it could simply be a result of excessive earwax or it could be ‘true’ tinnitus resulting from hearing loss. Tinnitus is the most common cause, usually described as a ringing, clicking, whistling or hissing sound within the head or ears, with no external source. The noises can take any form – some people hear music or noises that beat in time with their pulse. Around 1 in every 10 UK adults has tinnitus, increasing to 30% in the over-70s.

Can tinnitus be treated?

Although there is no single cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage it and make it easier to live with. Some of the treatments available are wax removal, hearing aids or therapy (cognitive therapy, sound therapy, or both). Leightons’ experienced audiologists offer a free tinnitus consultation service, helping you build the best treatment plan to deal with this often distressing condition.

What can I do to protect my hearing? There are steps you can take to protect your ears. Avoid using cotton wool buds inside your ears, and try wearing earplugs at loud events or when swimming in cold water. Specialist earplugs like the ACS Ear Protection range, including ACS Ear Plugs and ACS Custom Ear Plugs, all do an excellent job of protecting your ears from loud noises.

What to do next

Whether you require a free hearing test check-up in a local branch or at home, need ear wax removal treatment or want to find out more about hearing aids or tinnitus support – our caring and experienced audiologists are always here to help.

Book an appointment online, call us on 0800 40 20 20, or visit your nearest branch.