Looking after your hearing this Winter

Looking after your hearing this Winter

Every season comes with its own challenges for hearing health and hearing loss in Winter is no different. With British Spring time a long, long way off, it’s probably a good time to get the woolly jumpers and hats out. The weather is definitely getting colder and before we know it, Christmas Day will be here! Hearing loss in Winter There are a few potential causes of hearing loss in Winter. If you’re in a part of the UK that sees snow every year (Scotland springs to mind), the council may use machinery to clear the snow. Snow ploughs or snow blowers can make 100 decibels of noise – almost as loud as a rock concert. Even regular traffic can be louder as ice, sleet and snow cause cars traffic jams and vehicles to slide, crunch and honk everywhere they go. Be sure to limit travel abroad if you have a cold or an ear infection. Difficulty in regulating the differences in pressure inside your ear canal and on the aeroplane can lead to the eardrum rupturing. Infections and surfer’s ear Our bodies react in their own way to the cold. For reasons not entirely clear, we’re much more likely to get a cold. The same is true of some other infections. Cold environments restrict blood circulation in the ear. That means spending lots of time outside in the cold increases the risk of an ear infection. Complications can sometimes arise from ear infections, especially if they are recurring. These can sometimes lead to permanent hearing damage. One of the symptoms of Exotosis, otherwise known as Surfer’s Ear, is...
Hearing loss in the British Army; how it has affected soldiers over the years

Hearing loss in the British Army; how it has affected soldiers over the years

There has been a history of hearing loss in the British Army going back to the Great War. While the British Army has been involved in several wars over the years. The Lost Generation were those who fought in the Great War. Our parents, the Greatest Generation fought WWII and some went on to fight the Korean War. Those who grew up in its aftermath, the Baby Boomers served in Falklands. Hearing loss has been a constant amongst veterans who served. More recently, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are bringing back more still. Our parents who came back from WWII almost certainly came back with severe and permanent hearing loss. At the time however, hearing loss was still considered something to be embarrassed and ashamed about. Without testing a sample of soldiers before and after they came back, there’s no way of telling just how many did come back with life-changing hearing loss. Anti-aircraft fire, grenades and the Lee-Enfield rifle would’ve produced plenty of noise and hearing damage for when they came back. Those who fought the war were simply expected to roll up their sleeves and get on with it when they got back. The most reliable study on hearing loss in the British Army was conducted in 2009 by the Ministry of Defence. They found that 2/3 of soldiers in the study were coming back from service with permanent and severe hearing loss. The study tested 1,250 Royal Marine Commandos deployed to Afghanistan. 69% came back with hearing damage. High tech solutions The challenges of protecting soldiers’ hearing on deployment remains. The MOD was criticised a...
Hearing loss; the best ways to protect yourself

Hearing loss; the best ways to protect yourself

Unfortunately, hearing loss is not something that can always be prevented. Sometimes as you get older, your hearing will just naturally deteriorate. There are a few things you can do to protect your hearing. Exposure to loud noises is often a factor in hearing loss. Avoid loud noises Whilst not always practical, you should keep away from loud noise as much as you can. A noise is probably loud enough to cause damage if you have to raise your voice to talk to other people. Another sign is if your ears are hurting from the noise. If you have a ringing in your ears after, it was probably too loud. Be careful listening to music I hate to be the bearer of bad news but listening to loud music through earphones / headphones is a big danger to your hearing. You can try using noise cancelling headphones which will block out the outside noise. You should only have the volume up to a level where you can hear the music comfortably. Generally you shouldn’t listen to music at any more than 60% of the maximum volume. You should take a 5 minute break from your ear/headphones each hour to give your ears a rest. Take care during loud events & at work A loud event / activity such as going to a nightclub, gig or sporting event can be damaging to your hearing. Always try to move away from the source of loud noise, generally the loudspeakers. Try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes. You could also consider wearing earplugs. If you are exposed to...
How does your ear work?

How does your ear work?

If you are considering a hearing consultation because your hearing is deteriorating, it might help you to understand exactly how your ear works… Outer Ear There are lots of conditions which can affect the outer ear. Often these conditions give you the sensation of having blocked ears. This could lead to inflamed or infected ears later. Sometimes these conditions can affect how your hearing aids work or prevent your audiologist from examining your ear properly. Generally, most of these conditions are treated easily leaving no long-term issues. The most common outer ear condition is probably a build up of earwax. We offer earwax removal appointments at any of our clinics or in the comfort of your home. We rid you of your earwax by using microsuction which is considered the safest of wax removal procedures. Middle Ear The middle ear is a space behind the eardrum that contains a chain of tiny bones called the ossicles. These bones stretch from the eardrum to the cochlea (which is in the inner ear). When your eardrum vibrates, it causes these tiny bones to move backwards and forwards. This movement is how the sound waves pass through to your inner ear. The middle ear is also connected to the space at the back of your nose by a small passage called the Eustachian tube. Every time you swallow, yawn or blow your nose, this tube opens and allows air into your middle ear. Middle ear conditions, such as a perforated ear drum, otitis media or glue ear, can cause earache and temporary hearing loss. Usually these conditions are caused by an infection....
Meniere’s Disease; causes, symptoms and treatment

Meniere’s Disease; causes, symptoms and treatment

Meniere’s Disease is a health condition that affects the inner ear. It is thought that roughly 1 in 1000 people in the UK suffer from the disease. The disease is more prominent in adults between 20-60 and slightly more common in women than men. Meniere’s Disease is a progressive condition that impacts hearing and balance. Often this results in bouts of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing impairment and pressure build-up in the ear. Symptoms & diagnosis The increased pressure created in the ear by Meniere’s Disease means those living with the condition can experience episodes of dizziness, vomiting and impaired hearing. Episodes usually last a few hours but can take days to fully recover from and return to normal health. The severity of each symptom and how often you experience problems varies from person to person. For some, vertigo, dizziness and vomiting may be the main symptoms. Whereas for others, the impairment of hearing can be the main symptom. If you think you may suffer from Meniere’s Disease, the most important first step is to contact your GP and get a medical diagnosis. Many of the symptoms can be caused by other illnesses and conditions, so getting a trusted diagnosis is important – from there, you can get the best management and treatment for your personal circumstances. Causes It is not fully understood what the causes of Meniere’s Disease are. There are many theories, but none have been widely accepted as the root cause of the condition. A build up of fluid in the inner ear, called “endolymph,” is often associated with creating a build-up of pressure in the ear, that...
Hearing tests & an Audiogram explained

Hearing tests & an Audiogram explained

It is important to have regular hearing tests, also known as an Audiogram, to assess your current level of hearing. The test will determine whether the Audiologist needs to prescribe hearing aids to you or not. A hearing test determines how you interpret different sounds ensuring you get the correct treatment for your specific needs. There are lots of different reasons as to why you may experience hearing loss and it’s important that you understand why your hearing is impaired. Hearing tests can be used by everyone, no matter their age, however as you get older, we recommend that you have them more frequently. Audiograms A large part of your hearing test is an Audiogram. An Audiogram is a graph that details how you interpret sound. Both ears are usually tested separately and if plotted on the same graph, red is usually used for right ear, and blue for the left ear. This graph shows the Audiologist how you hear different frequencies at different volumes. The Audiologist will be able to determine what the results mean for your day-to-day hearing. You may hear your Audiologist use the term hearing threshold. This describes the point at which a sound frequency becomes inaudible. A hearing threshold between 0 and 25 dB is considered “normal”. An Audiogram that shows hearing thresholds below may indicate a degree of hearing loss. The Audiologist will diagnose the extent, if any, of your hearing loss based on what your Audiogram looks like. The Audiologist will talk you through the results of your Audiogram in as much detail as possible so that you fully understand what they...

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