How Earwax Aids in Healthy Hearing
Celebrating 35 years of Caring for Your Hearing
|Meredy Hase tests a child, 1987||Kupperman and Hase work to license audiologists in Wisconsin, 1989|
Hearing Loss UNDER Age 65
We used to think of hearing loss as something that only happened to our grandparents' generation. But you'd be surprised at how many people your age, and even younger, have a hearing problem.
According to a study recently published by the Better Hearing Institute, two-thirds of Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65 and still in the work force. That includes one of every six "Baby Boomers" (ages 41 to 59) and one of every 14 "Generation X'ers" (age 29-40).
According to Meredy Hase, Doctor of Audiology, "Hearing loss is by no means an 'old person's disease' any longer. Each day, we see people of all ages come into our offices concerned they may have a hearing problem.
"There's even solid evidence to support the fact that for working Americans, hearing loss impacts their ability to make a living, up to $12,000 in lost income per year." (See related article)
Dr. Hase urges anyone who thinks they, or a loved one, may have a hearing loss to contact The Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services without delay.
Auditory Deprivation refers to the fact that even though we "hear" with our ears, it's our brain that's the true organ of hearing.
When hearing loss is left untreated, the brain's ability to distinguish various sounds becomes less and less. Try to think of Auditory Deprivation as similar, in a sense, to muscles that atrophy when not used over a long period of time.
The reason Auditory Deprivation is important is that we have ample evidence proving how long people will wait before seeking help for a suspected hearing loss. Up to ten years, by some estimates.
In other words, the longer you wait to get help for your hearing loss, the less even the most advanced hearing instruments will be able to help you hear better. That's one more reason physicians recommend annual hearing checks as part of an overall health assessment.
The Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services can perform hearing screenings that take only a few minutes. Concerned individuals are urged to contact them at the first signs of hearing loss, such as an inability to understand conversations in a crowded room or having to turn up the TV volume in order to hear.
Hearing & Income Loss
After years of research, there is new evidence that links hearing loss and loss of income. A study released by the Better Hearing Institute in Alexandria, VA, proves that untreated hearing loss may impact household income by as much as $12,000 per year.
The study also shows that hearing loss, which affects more than 28 million Americans, two thirds of whom are still in the work force, results in an annual loss of more than $100 billion in wages and worker productivity. The good news is people who find help for their hearing loss can regain up to 50% of that lost income.
According to Meredy Hase, Doctor of Audiology, "One of the misconceptions about hearing loss is that it's 'an old person's ailment'. But we know that hearing loss crosses all income lines and impacts people of all ages".
The new "Open Ear" Digital hearing instruments are especially designed to help Baby Boomers feel more comfortable about wearing hearing instruments.
Anyone interested in receiving a FREE Demonstration of Open Fit hearing technology are urged to contact the Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services.
Hearing Loss & the Family
For years, both researchers and hearing healthcare professionals have known much about the causes of hearing loss and how it affects the person who suffers from it.
But not until recently has attention been paid as to the devastating effects hearing loss has on family members and friends as well. This past year alone, several organizations have weighed in with their findings on this often overlooked medical problem that by current estimates, affects the lives and families of more than 30 million Americans.
For example, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a government agency whose task it is to research the lives of older Americans, released a study that confirms how often a person with hearing loss begins to feel isolated, eventually withdrawing from normal everyday activities and even from family and friends.
None of this is news, however, to Dr. Meredy Hase, who says, "I realized just how much hearing loss also affected family members when we''d spend so much time counseling them when we''d fit their loved one with hearing instruments".
The benefits of better hearing were the subject of an NBC report that aired on an installment of the NBC Nightly News. In that report, the testimonials of several patients and their families provided evidence of how lives can be changed for the good, once the decision has been made to seek help for a hearing problem.
Those interviewed talked about how experiences such as watching TV or enjoying conversations with loved ones - things that were not possible with hearing loss - were once again part of the everyday enjoyment of life. Social activities like dining at restaurants of going to the movies were also among the range of family life experienced through better hearing.
Thanks to recent advances in technology more help is available than ever before for those whose lives are affected by hearing loss. If left untreated, hearing loss will almost always become worse over time, another reason Dr. Hase urges people to contact the Doctors of Audiology at Hearing Services if a hearing loss is thought to exist.
More Hearing Healthcare News
Earwax is vital for protecting your ability to hear. But too much can sometimes accumulate and lead to itchiness, pain, a feeling of fullness, and even coughing. It can also temporarily muffle your hearing or cause tinnitus. Here, the best and safest ways to keep it in balance.
We all have sticky, oily earwax in our ear canals. And that's a good thing, in small doses.
Under normal circumstances, it naturally migrates from inside your ear canal outward. Along the way, the wax traps dust, dead skin, and other debris inside the ear canal, helping to keep your ears clean. The oily quality of earwax moisturizes the skin inside your ear canal, helping prevent cuts and scratches. And the wax’s acidity can destroy bacteria, protecting you from infection.
Anyone can find that they have more than an ideal amount of earwax, but about one-third of older adults have excessive earwax, along with two-thirds of nursing home residents. And age, indeed, is a key factor in how likely you are to have an overabundance of earwax, although genetics also plays a role, as well.
Cerumen buildup is also more common among people who use hearing aids, which can physically block wax from leaving the ear.
Safe Ways to Clean Your Ears at Home
Unless excessive earwax is causing problems for you—pain, reduced hearing, or any of the other problems mentioned above—you can leave it alone.
But many people consider removing the wax a regular part of their hygiene routine. And several common removal methods—such as using cotton-tipped swabs or ear candles—can do harm, but no good. If you want to get rid of some of your earwax, consider the following:
Check out drugstore eardrops. Over-the-counter (OTC) ear drops, either oil- or water-based, may soften cerumen, making it easier for it to work its way out of your ear on its own. A 2018 analysis by the independent Cochrane collaboration found that ear drops may be helpful for clearing out cerumen, but that no specific type of ear drop worked better than others. Look for products labeled for clearing or removing earwax.
Flush it out gently. Another recommended method: softly flushing your ears with fluid, using an ear irrigation kit. These OTC kits usually include a bulb syringe or another type of ear syringe, along with ear drops.
Skip the swabs. Resist the temptation to insert cotton-tipped swabs, hair pins, paper clips, or any other foreign object, into your ears. These can all cause serious ear injuries, including eardrum perforation.
Avoid ear candling. This home remedy involves inserting a long, hollow tube, made of fabric soaked in beeswax or paraffin, into your ear, and lighting the other end on fire. This supposedly creates suction through the tube that draws out earwax.
The problem? Studies of the process have found that any wax drawn out is simply melted wax from the candle itself. And it carries significant risks, including burning yourself with the lit candle. For these reasons, the Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers against using ear candles.
Article originally appeared on Yahoo! News.