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Hearing Aids

Do You Need a Back-Up Hearing Aid?

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At-Home Earwax Removal: What You Need To Know

Earwax is produced by your ears to help protect the ear canal from infection and water. This yellowish waxy substance, also known as cerumen, plays an important part in cleaning and protecting your ears. In most cases, earwax will naturally work its way out of your ear canal and into the ear opening. If you’re considering at-home earwax removal, it’s important to know how to do it correctly. If you suspect that you may be having a problem with earwax, book in an appointment with your local hearing care professional.

At-Home Earwax Removal 

The American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) recommends that you leave your earwax alone unless it is causing problems or blocking your ear canal. If you feel that need to remove excess earwax, these 3 at-home earwax removal tips can help:

  • 1. Soften the wax. Use an ear dropper, like those you can find at a drugstore, and apply a few drops of one of the following in your ear canal:
    • Baby oil
    • Glycerin
    • Mineral oil
    • Hydrogen peroxide
  • 2. Use warm water. Once the wax has softened (this will take a day or two), use a rubber-bulb syringe and gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Tilt your head, and gently pull your outer ear up and back to straighten your ear canal. Once you’ve finished, tip your head to the side and let the water drain out.
  • 3. Dry your ear canal. When you’ve finished draining the water, gently dry your outer ear with a towel.

How Not to Remove Earwax 

Q-tips should never be used for earwax removal. Using a Q-tip could damage your ears and potentially push the earwax further into your ear rather than removing it. This can result in an impaction, which can affect your hearing and is at times quite painful.

Another common method you may find for at-home earwax removal is a technique known as candling. Candling uses a hollowed out cone shaped candle to try and remove earwax. It’s supposed to create a vacuum seal in the ear, which the earwax is meant to stick to. This method can be dangerous, and could cause burns, obstructions in your ear canal. In the worse case scenario, candling may actually damage your ear.

Please do not try to use Q-tips or ear candling for at-home earwax removal. 

If you are unsure about safely removing earwax, please get in touch with the hearing care professionals at Sutton Hearing & Balance. We will be able to clean your ears in our clinic, and give you advice on how you can clean your ears in the future. Give our team a call on (212) 786-5741 or click here to request an appointment online.

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Do You Need a Back-Up Hearing Aid?

Although a spare pair of hearing aids isn’t a necessity, they certainly come in handy when needed. You may already have back-up items that you’ve become accustomed to using in your daily life, like glasses.

Here are 4 reasons you may need a back-up hearing aid: 

  1. When you’re charging your existing pair of hearing aids.
  2. To have an extra pair in your office or purse, in case anything happens to your main hearing aids (or worse, you forget them).
  3. When you’re traveling. If anything happens to your primary hearing devices when you’re away from home, a back-up hearing aid is very useful. They will ensure you can continue to hear well, even if you’re not immediately able to get in touch with your local hearing care professional.
  4. Safety. A non-functioning hearing aid could increase risks of injury or accidents, as it impacts your ability to hear any distractions or dangers. A back-up hearing aid can mitigate these risks.

How Can I Get A Back-Up Hearing Aid?

Purchasing a second pair of hearing aids isn’t always an option. Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving and advancing, and you may find that newer hearing aid models are more suited to your requirements. If you do decide to upgrade, keep your old hearing aids! They can then function as your spare set.

Replacing your older models with newer models also allows you to take advantage of some of the latest advancements, such as:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Improved charging technology
  • Internet connectivity

Having a back-up hearing aid can help you avoid inconveniences. If you’d like to explore the latest advancements in hearing aid tech, come in and meet the hearing professionals at Sutton Hearing & Balance. Give our team a call on (212) 786-5741 or click here to request an appointment online.

Posted by Admin

Tips To Keep Your Hearing Aids Safe This Summer

Summer is finally here! Warmer weather, lighter nights and more time spent outside, isn’t that what summer is all about? While your hearing aids will help you catch the conversation during the summer fun, it’s important to understand how to protect your devices and keep them working at their best.

Helpful Summer Safety Tips for Hearing Aid Users

Many of us will spend a great deal more time outside during the summer season. Activities may include swimming, watersports, trips to the beach or sports outdoors. You can still enjoy these activities if you wear hearing aids with these simple tips.

  • Plan Ahead: Think about the activities that you’re going to engage in. Have you looked at what the weather conditions are expected to be? Humidity, dust, intense heat, sweat and water can all potentially damage your hearing aids. Plan ahead, and ensure you pack the necessary accessories for your devices.
  • Store Safely: Store your hearing aids safely overnight. You may want to consider a dehumidifying box if you’re in a very humid environment or if you are getting very sweaty. This will help to remove any excess moisture, keeping your hearing aids dry.
  • Protect Your Hearing Aids From Chemicals: If you’re applying suntan lotion or perhaps applying bug spray, remove your hearing aids. The chemicals could potentially damage or clog up your hearing aids.
  • Check Hat Fit: If you wear Behind The Ear (BTE) aids, you’ll want to allow extra room in any hats you may be wearing. Consider using a safety clip if you are wearing the hearing aids.
  • Clean Regularly: Clean your hearing aid regularly with a cleaning kit.
  • Avoid Getting Your Aids Wet: If you know you’re going to be swimming or showering, or if you’re planning water based activities, you must remove your hearing aids. Although many have water resistant features, they may not be fully waterproof. If in doubt, check the IP rating of your device which will inform you of the level of water resistance. Alternatively, come in and speak with the hearing care professionals at Sutton Hearing & Balance.
  • Don’t Leave Your Hearing Aids In Direct Sun: If you won’t be wearing your devices, ensure you store them safely. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or heat. Also, keep the batteries away from direct sunlight or extreme heat as they may become activated if the stickers peel themselves off.
  • Remember Your Spare Batteries!

By following the above tips, you’ll be able to get out there and enjoy yourself this summer while keeping your hearing aids safe. If you’d like to discuss further, or if it’s time to book in your annual hearing assessment, why not book an appointment today? Give our team a call on (212) 786-5741 or click here to request an appointment online.

Posted by Admin

Can Protecting Your Hearing Protect Your Brain?

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to “go purple” and show support for the millions of people worldwide struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. With that in mind, we’re asking: “Can protecting your hearing help protect your brain?”

How Your Hearing And Brain Are Connected

Before we explore how protecting your hearing can protect your brain, we need to understand how your hearing and your brain are connected. It may surprise you to learn that we hear with our brains, not with our ears.

We have an extremely complex hearing system, that can essentially be split into two parts: the peripheral hearing system and the central hearing system.

The three main parts that make up your ear are part of the peripheral hearing system:

  1. Outer Ear – Sound waves are first captured here. Your outer ear is comprised of the pinna (sometimes referenced as the auricle), eardrum and ear canal.
  2. Middle Ear – This is a small, air-filled space containing three tiny bones known collectively as the ossicles: the malleus, incus and stapes.
  3. Inner Ear – Your inner ear has organs designed for balance and hearing. It also contains your cochlea, which is the part of your inner ear responsible for hearing. The cochlea has thousands of tiny hair cells, and is a distinctive snail-like shape. It connects via the auditory nerve to your central hearing system, and is filled with fluid that plays an important role in hearing.

The auditory nerve is part of the central hearing system. Your central hearing system is a complex pathway to your brain stem, and then on to the auditory cortex of your brain.

When you’re hearing sounds in your environment, what you’re actually ‘hearing’ are sound waves, invisible vibrations that travel through the air. Most sounds have unique sound waves that are sent in every direction.

When a sound wave hits your ear, the pinna in both of your ears direct the sounds into your ear canals. The vibrations made by the sound wave cause your eardrum to vibrate. This vibration then causes the tiny bones, or ossicles, in your middle ear to move. This movement helps to transmit the sound waves into your cochlea. The thousands of hair cells in your cochlea convert the vibrations into electrical signals. These signals are transmitted to your brain through the auditory nerve. At this point, your brain will interpret the sound. You’ll identify what it is that you’re hearing, as well as the direction that the sound originated from. It’s truly a remarkable process.

Can Hearing Loss Affect Your Brain?

Hearing loss can have an impact on your brain, particularly if left untreated. Some of the ways that hearing loss impacts your brain are:

  • Social isolation. Many with an untreated hearing loss withdraw from social environments or situations where they may struggle to hear. The resulting social isolation is linked to higher rates changes of cognitive decline due to a reduction in the amount and quality of brain stimulation.
  • A study of MRI scans showed that individuals with hearing loss can experience a faster decline of brain volume. The findings outlined that individuals with hearing loss utilise their brain differently to those with normal hearing. This result in the brain cells that aren’t being used shrinking.
  • Hearing loss can require repeated, at times intense, concentration to hear. This can put excess strain and stress on cognitive function. When this occurs over a prolonged period, it can be fatiguing may result in memory issues.

Protecting your hearing can help to protect your brain. At Sutton Hearing & Balance, we hope you will learn to value and protect your hearing, get started with our hearing loss prevention guide. If you believe that your hearing may have changed or you’re overdue for a hearing assessment, please come in and meet our hearing specialists today. Call us on (212) 786-5741 or click here to request an appointment online.

Posted by Admin

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