Q: What do your ears and your oven have in common?

 

A: They are both self cleaning

 

It’s true! Your ears can clean themselves with the help of cerumen. Cerumen, the medical term for earwax, forms in the outer one-third of your ear canal, naturally migrating out of your ear with jaw movements, such as talking or chewing, to naturally clean your ears.

Earwax is also thought to have protective, antibacterial and lubricant properties. Wax protects the ear by keeping debris away from the eardrum. Inserting ear cleaning or wax-removal tools can potentially push the wax further down the canal, thereby causing harm to the wall of your ear canal or eardrum. Removing ear wax can also make your ear canal feel dry and itchy because of the natural lubrication it provides.

 

Is it ever okay to clean your ears?

Despite the wide array of removal tools sold over the counter, the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) believes that under ideal circumstances your ears will never need to be cleaned:“Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that earwax should be routinely removed for personal hygiene. This is not so. In fact, attempting to remove ear wax with cotton-tipped swabs, bobby pins, or other probing devices can result in damage to the ear including trauma, impaction of the earwax, and changes in hearing. These objects only push wax in deeper, and can block the ear canal entirely.”

 

How to help avoid earwax build up:

If your ears tend to produce a great deal of earwax, you can help prevent build up and impaction by using a softening agent once a week. Drops like Debrox and Murine are sold over the counter and can soften wax by allowing it to come out on its own more easily. If you feel most comfortable leaving removal to the professionals, you can schedule wax removal every 6 to 12 months with your doctor or hearing professional.

 

NOTE: If you have tubes in your ears, a hole in your ear, diabetes, or a weakened immune system you should contact your physician before attempting to remove wax on your own.

 

Signs of an impaction (earwax buildup):

An excess build-up of earwax can lead to impaction and other unpleasant symptoms including pain, infection, decrease in hearing, itching and more.

  • If you notice pain, fullness, or a plugged sensation in your ear you should see a professional to rule out wax impaction.
  • If wax blocks your ear canal you may notice a decrease in hearing, ringing, itching, odor, or an increase in coughing.

A professional trained in earwax extraction can use suction, a curette, microscope or irrigation for removal. Manual removal may be used if the ear canal is narrow, the eardrum has a hole in it, or there is a tube in the ear drum. Individuals with diabetes or weakened immune systems should be especially careful about wax removal.

 

Hearing aids and earwax

Earwax can wreak havoc on hearing aids. Some hearing aid wearers report an increase in earwax production when they begin wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids can stimulate the glands in the ear canal to produce more wax and block the normal migration of wax from the ear canal. More importantly, earwax can clog a hearing aid’s microphones and receivers, impairing quality and performance. This is why cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids is so important. Your hearing care professional will demonstrate how to properly clean and maintain your hearing aids.

 

Sources:

 

This blog originally appeared on www.starkey.com by Dr. Beth McCormick.

 

The Innovation Summit was in Las Vegas from January 15 – 19 2014 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

It brought together over 3,400 hearing professionals from over 30 countries to discuss recent changes, advancements, and the future of hearing healthcare.

Each day brought with it different speakers and small group sessions in which we learned more about our trade.

Guest speakers included popular hearing scientists, innovators, business advisers and some celebrities also.  Special guest speakers included Donald Trump, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.

The event ended with a private concert performed by Brad Paisley.

Of the images below, you’ll find one of Bill Clinton reaching for his left ear just before he pulled out his hearing aid, which was fit by our lab.  He spoke much of the importance of quality hearing and the role it plays in his life.

For an in-depth read on the events that took place, please see the links below from the company who sponsored the Expo.

Day 1 details.
Day 2 details.
Day 3 details. 

Here are some images from the event.

For more info on the expo, please see www.hearinginnovationexpo.com

We are pleased to announce that our Allentown location has a new state-of-the-art sound proof booth for hearing testing and verification.  It is the largest sound proof booth that we have and has two large windows to keep you comfortable.

The booth was installed just before the 2013 Christmas holiday.

Our hearing tests were always done accurately in the past, but since the office has become busier, people stop in more frequently, and the phone rings often, we felt it was a necessity to keep our patients confident in our work.

The booth was a welcomed upgrade to the office as it grows in the Lehigh Valley!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Trial periods are fairly standard in our Industry. We have a 30 day evaluation period, for instance, where patients can return hearing devices if we don’t satisfy them.

Anyway, about a month ago, an older man walks into our Pottsville office with his daughter to discuss getting hearing help.

The man barely spoke, he let his daughter do most of the talking.

His daughter explained that he is very hard of hearing, and I’m their last hope. “You see,” she said, “my dad has tried 5 hearing centers so far, and he has returned from all of them.”

“No one could help him,” she explained. “So, you’re our last hope.”

This man was in five different hearing aid trials from five different people. Wow. Those were my thoughts.

His hearing loss was severe – I can’t imagine the muffled life he heard. Really, I cannot imagine how he functioned. He trusted me enough to let me have a final shot at correcting his hearing.

A month later and after a few appointments with me, I saw my schedule today and noticed he was coming back for his last appointment. It was the time for him to decide if he was happy.

I was nervous to see him.

His daughter accompanied him again.

I invited them into the office to take a seat, and as I shut the door, his daughter just kept looking at me to get my attention.

She wouldn’t sit down.

My heart dropped as I was afraid of what she was about to say to my face.

“Well, young man,” she started, “You should feel very proud of yourself. You just did something no one was able to do. You helped my father!”

The man was just all smiles and thanked me a few times.

I don’t feel like I did anything differently than anyone else, but I guess I did. If anything, I listened to what he had to say and did my best to factor all his realistic concerns into his trial period sessions. Maybe that tipped the scales in my favor.

Regardless, I was happy he came here. I was happy he tried a 6th time.

Either way, I’ve seen him over the course of that month, and in that time his personality changed as he became more talkative. He felt left out since his hearing limited his interaction with people. All of changed in his hearing aid trial. He was a different person today, that’s for certain.

Anyone can see that his life will never be the same. He was transformed, and it was improving his hearing that made all that possible.

-Chris

About ten years ago, a woman came into the office seeking hearing help.  To not violate any policies, I’ll call her Betty.

She met with my father, Nick, to discuss her inabilities to understand conversations at times.  She explained,  “I can hear, but just not clearly sometimes. It can be hard to make out softer voices or to hear people in noise.  I notice it more on my right side.  I think my left ear is ok.”

After testing her hearing for the first time, Nick counseled her:  “Your hearing is worse in your right ear, but your left ear has a mild loss as well.  In order to do this properly, you should correct both ears.”

Betty commented, “I don’t think I need anything in my left ear!  If my right ear is worse, I only want to correct that side.”

To her liking, Nick entered Betty into a trial with JUST her right ear.   He fit a hearing device that was discreet and calibrated to her right ear’s hearing deficiency.

She was happy and kept the device at the end of her trial.

She has been a terrific patient ever since.  She comes in periodically for cleanings and adjustments.

Now, when I started at Michels Hearing Center about 7 years ago, she was one of the first patients I had met.  We became friends since she’s so active in our hearing maintenance programs.

Well about 3 years ago, Betty wanted to sit down with me to discuss her hearing again.  She knew there was better technology available and felt she’d like to try something newer.   I went through the paces with her: retested her hearing, checked her ear canals, and then counseled her on her loss.

“Betty,” I said, “to be honest, there hasn’t been much change in your hearing for the last few years.”

“Yet, I still feel I am missing out on conversation.”

“Don’t you think it’s time to fit your left ear?” I asked.

“No, I don’t need one in that ear.  I want to try something better in my right ear,” she was quick to respond.

To her liking again, I upgraded her right device.  She noticed quite an improvement in comfort and clarity versus her older technology.  She was happy and kept the device at the end of her trial.

And so, the story continues.  She has been coming in regularly for hearing checks and adjustments since then.

Then we get another call that she wants to sit down and discuss her overall hearing again.  She heard about new technology and is considering trying it.

I tested her hearing again: no change.

“I still cannot hear plainly.  I am missing out in conversation.  I can’t hear the tv well, and my daughter is complaining that I say ‘What?’ too much.  Can I get a better device for my right ear?”

“No,”  I said.

I wasn’t rude, but she looked surprised.

“If you are here for your right ear, then please don’t waste your money.  If you can get one hearing device today, then please, you owe it to yourself to fit your left ear once and for all.”

“Tell me why,” was Betty’s response.

“Betty, I see you wear glasses.  What do you think the optometrist would say the next time you go and insist on only wearing one lens for your right eye?”

Betty smiled as I went on.

“He’d probably laugh!  With one lens, you can surely see better, but you are only seeing half the picture.  No matter how hard you try with your right lens… no matter how hard the doctor tries to adjust your right eye’s prescription, he will NEVER be able to get you to see properly from the left side of your head.”

I explained more, “Your ears are no different. You are asking me to adjust your right ear to the point that it can hear sounds all the way around you.  And it’s impossible.  No matter how great the device is on your right ear, you are still only hearing from the right side of your head.”

She agreed.  Finally.  And so she walked out of the office for the first time in over 10 years with a hearing device in BOTH ears. And I was nervous about what she’d think in the end.

I fit Betty’s left ear 3 weeks ago.

And today… she had her first follow-up appointment.

She came into the office.  She sat down quietly.

I was hesitant to ask: “How has everything been going, Betty?”

“I can’t thank you enough,” she gleamed.  “I can’t believe the difference.  I am hearing exactly the way I wanted to.  The tv is quieter.  My daughter is ecstatic, and I just can’t thank you enough.  I’m finally happy.”

Betty made my day today.

This isn’t an “I-told-ya-so” story.  The fact of the matter is:  we are born with two ears for a reason.  Take full advantage of them.  Whether you have 1% or 99% hearing loss, it is still a hearing loss.

Every second that goes by that you leave your hearing uncorrected, not only can your hearing suffer more, but you miss on the slightest little hearing moments that will never happen again.

I am sure that as of now, Betty regrets not correcting her hearing like this from day one.  Either way, she is finally happy.  And so are we for helping her the right way.

Free 30 day trial

Free 30 day trial!

Relearning to hear is a process, and we take it very seriously at Michels Hearing.  Because you will too.

We offer (to everyone!) free 3o days trial periods so anyone can test drive improved hearing before considering hearing improvement.  In this way, you can see for yourself just how comfortable and discreet improved hearing can be.  Of course, not to mention how clear life should sound.

When you come for your initial visit, you’ll sit down with us to discuss your expectations and hearing history.  We’ll check your hearing and demonstrate within minutes how things should really sound.

For most people, losing hearing has been a slow gradual process, and they don’t realize just what they’re missing… until we turn the hearing devices on!  It’s always an eye-opening and thrilling experience.

From here, you have the choice to take them home with you.  Take them to your favorite restaurant, take them to church, where them at work.  In fact, we encourage you wear them solidly (mostly because you’ll want to) in order to adjust to all the new sounds.

We will call to check on you in your trial period.  Your questions can be answered over the phone.  We will also set up a one week follow-up appointment, so we can adjust your hearing depending on your unique lifestyle and personality preferences.

After wearing them for another two weeks, we’ll bring you back for another short appointment.  We’ll adjust the devices even more.

It is important that you are committed to a trial period.  For new wearers especially, we do not amplify to your hearing loss 100% on day one.  If we did, you may not like it.  We’ll start at about 80% of the recommended volume in order for you to adjust to some of the basic sounds first.  As you come in for your post visit appointments, we’ll slowly raise the volume to your target or recommended level.  So as the trial moves forward, you’ll hear better and better.  You’ll appreciate this process as it eases you into improved hearing.  It’s the only way to relearn how to hear.  Too much too soon is NOT the right approach.

If, for any reason, you are not happy, you have the opportunity to return any hearing device with no pressure to continue forward.

We are sure you’ll love them as much as we do.  So after your trial is complete, we are happy to bring you back routinely for cleanings, adjustments, and subsequent hearing checks to monitor your hearing.  If your hearing changes, we can accommodate those changes by reprogramming your devices.  We provide this service for life of the devices as a compliment to the patient.  There’s never a charge!  No matter what, we will strive to keep you satisfied.

You can read about our award-winning services by checking out our patient reviews at: michelshearing.com/patient-reviews

So that’s how we work!

My Audibel

This is the place to get instant, individualized access to information about your hearing aids – and tips to help ensure long-lasting listening performance and comfort.

Private, convenient and personalized just for you, My Audibel is your single stop for rehabilitation exercises, operation manuals, use & care videos and more!

You get:

  • FREE access to aural rehabilitation tools like Read My Quips, a clinically proven, online speech comprehension tool that patients can do at home.
  • Personalized, one-stop access to all your hearing aid information, like manuals, instructional videos and more.
  • Information on new products and features customized just for you.
  • At-a-glance snapshot and contact information for your hearing center.

Any existing patient can contact us to get started for free.

Description
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a hearing loss? Do you have a family member with hearing loss? The Hearing Loss Simulator allows you to choose a specific hearing loss configuration and then listen to sounds as though you have that particular hearing loss. The Hearing Loss Simulator contains pre-recorded common sounds and has the option to let you record your own voice for playback through the different hearing loss configurations. The Hearing Loss Simulator includes graphics to show where the common sounds, speech, and individual speech sounds are located for loudness and frequency.

Read more at iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hearing-loss-simulator/id398352094?mt=8

Update
Hear Coach is a suite of listening games developed by Starkey Laboratories; it features games that challenge both your cognitive and auditory sharpness.

Hear Coach is now connecting to personalized hearing websites, like MyAudibel.com. Users can work with their hearing professional to create a personalized website and track their Hear Coach progress on the website or their iPhone / iPad.

Hear Coach can still be used without connecting to a personalized website but progress tracking will not be available. Upgrades from existing installs of Hear Coach will clear all previously saved progress tracking.

Hear Coach, a new mobile app for auditory training, is now available in the iTunes store. Patients with hearing loss often have communication breakdowns in noisy situations, and auditory training activities are designed to help them sharpen their hearing and listening skills. However, if a program doesn’t engage patients and encourage them to spend enough time training to improve performance, it won’t work.

Hear Coach takes a different approach by providing interactive listening games designed to challenge a patient’s cognitive and auditory skills, helping patients improve their ability to listen in noise so they can participate without as much effort. The app allows patients to track their progress over time while continuously challenging themselves. We encourage the use of this app as part of your fitting process to increase patient acceptance and satisfaction.

Search for Hear Coach from the iTunes App Store to download it on your iPhone or iPad. Contact us with questions.