When people start to notice hearing loss, often their first thought jumps to permanent loss, and they wonder if they will have to get hearing aids. But before jumping to this conclusion, there are a number of possibilities you should consider.
Care and Cleaning
For regular care of your ears, most of the time you don't even need to clean the inner canal. Ear wax is meant to collect any dust or foreign objects in the ear canal. It then will either dry up and fall out or migrate to the outside of your ear, where it can be wiped off. Some ignore this advice and use foreign objects such as q-tips to clean inside their ears. This will usually just push the ear wax deeper in the ear, which can actually cause hearing loss or dizziness if too much builds up.
If this is the case, the accumulated wax can often be cleared using a few drops of baby oil or commercial oil. Other options include ear irrigation kits, which can be purchased at a pharmacy. If these methods don't seem to help, your doctor will be able to help evaluate if manual removal of wax is needed or if there is a more serious issue at play.
To determine if there is a problem with your ears that requires further help, a visit to your primary care physician is the first step. The doctor will inspect your ears to see if the problem is a blockage or wax build up or if you will need further evaluation by an audiologist. If needed, he or she can refer you to a local hearing clinic for an appointment.
At the hearing clinic, the audiologist will first ask you about your medical history as well as the symptoms you have been experiencing. It's a good idea to bring someone with you who is close to you to help ask questions, take notes, and to participate in hearing tests if it is needed for you to listen to a familiar voice.
Tests the audiologist will then conduct include an Otoscopy, or evaluation of your ear using a magnifying light. This will help him or her look for impaction of ear wax or other foreign matter. Tympanometry is another test that can be conducted, which uses light pressure to look for a middle ear infection. Audiometry is the third main test, which looks for the quietest sound you can hear either through the air or through stimulating the bone of your inner ear. These tests are not painful or very uncomfortable, so there is no need to worry.
Forming a Game Plan
The audiologist will then be able to go over the results of these tests with you and determine if you should talk to a hearing aid specialist or perhaps an Ear Nose and Throat doctor if the problem requires further medical care. For more information, speak with professionals like the Audiology Clinic Of Northern Alberta.
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