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How to Clean Your Ears (And How NOT To)

Ears are self-cleaning organs. Don’t believe it? That’s no surprise considering there’s an entire industry devoted to having you believe otherwise. From drugstore cotton swabs to spa-provided ear candling services, you have many opportunities to hand over money for potentially dangerous substitutes for your body does just fine on its own.

Read on to learn more about how your ear takes care of itself and when and how to step in for additional ear cleaning

Earwax is Essential. Cotton Swabs Aren’t.

Essential to ears’ self-cleaning process is cerumen, the medical term for earwax. Under normal circumstances, earwax is only produced in the outer part of the ear canal, where the sticky, antimicrobial substance traps foreign particles and discourages the growth of bacteria and fungi. This protects the delicate inner ear from both damage and infection. Left alone, excess earwax eventually moves to the outer ear where it dries up and drops off or washes away unnoticed.

However, when earwax is pushed to the inner ear by cotton swabs or other implements, it can bring infectious debris to the inner ear. Doing so can also compact earwax, causing an obstruction that may result in pain or temporary hearing loss.

How to Clean Your Ears Safely

For the most part, you can stick to wiping the outer ear with a washcloth during your bath or shower and call it a day. (Cotton swabs can also be used to clean the outer ear, if you can resist the urge to dig deeper!)

Occasionally, you may experience an uncomfortable wax blockage, particularly if you are a senior (whose earwax tends be harder and drier) or part of a small percentage of people prone to excess earwax production. This may cause an earache, blocked feeling, or even temporary hearing loss. So long as your symptoms are mild, you may be able to clean your ears yourself using these methods:

  1. Loosening Wax with Mineral Oil

To help loosen earwax, place 1-2 drops of warm (not hot) mineral or baby oil in the ear twice a day for 2 or 3 days. Gently rinse the ear with warm water.

  1. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, lie down on a towel and pour a few drops into the raised ear using a bulb syringe if desired. Allow the solution to sit in the ear for up to 20 minutes. You may hear bubbling sounds and feel a slight tickle as the solution breaks down the wax. Cover the ear with a towel and lean to the opposite side to fully drain the ear.

How NOT to Clean Your Ears: Cotton Swabs, Ear Candling, and Ear Irrigation Systems

Health professionals are fond of saying you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears. That rules out your fingertips, personal ear cleaners, hairpins, and yes, cotton swabs or QTips ®. All of these run the risk of impacting earwax or worse, puncturing the ear drum.

Ear candling can also be taken off the table. Countless studies have shown the method, which involves lighting a hollow, cone-shaped candle to create a vacuum that suctions wax from the ear, provides little benefit and may cause damage. The same is true for over-the-counter ear irrigation systems. Meanwhile earwax vacuum systems are generally too weak to have any effect.

To protect your hearing, stick to the healthy cleaning methods discussed above and keep your ears away from any unnecessary instruments or caustic substances. If your ear trouble lasts more than a few days, you experience pain or dizziness, or note a discharge other than earwax, make an appointment with your doctor or local walk-in clinic to obtain an evaluation and a professional removal of the wax if needed.

 

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Phonak Audeo V Review

The following is a guest post comes from Kelly Wycoff, a longtime hearing aid wearer and Connect Hearing Hearing Care Professional. With her personal experience and professional expertise, we thought she was the perfect person to kick off our new series of hearing aid reviews. Thanks, Kelly!

Having worn hearing aids since age 4, I’ve seen the advances in hearing technology firsthand and have been really impressed by what’s come out of the last few years. The new Audeo V line from Phonak is no exception. I’ve been wearing Phonak Audeo V90s since January, after 5 years with wearing different manufacturers’ receiver-in-the canal (RIC) hearing aids and have found them to be truly different level of hearing aid technology than what I’ve worn in the past.

About the Phonak Audeo V

Before I get started on my experience, let’s take a quick look at the technical details!

First off, the V in Audeo V stands for Venture, the newest technology platform from Phonak. The keystone of this platform is its operating system, AutoSense OS. The “brain” of the hearing aid, it automatically senses your listening environment and instantly changes to the best of 200 pre-programmed listening modes. The platform also uses new chip technology which aims to increase battery life by 30 percent or more.

All hearing aids in the Audeo V line are receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) models. They are designed for people with mild to severe hearing losses and come in four performance levels: basic (V30), economy (V50), advanced (V70), and premium (V90). The models differ both in price (there’s around a $1,000 per two hearing aids increase in cost each time you increase performance levels) and the number of programs and channels they offer.

My Experience Wearing Phonak Audeo V90 Hearing Aids

I’ve been wearing Audeo V90s for the last four months and long story short: I love this technology – I’m hearing things I was never able to before and think about my hearing aids a lot less.

To give you a little background, I have about a 32% hearing loss. It’s a sloping hearing loss, meaning it is worse in the higher frequencies. In everyday terms, this means things sound muddled, and I have the most trouble with high-pitched noises, like female voices.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

Sound Quality

The first thing I noticed when I put them in is how there was no white noise within a quiet room.  There is very little feedback with these hearing aids. Just the crisp sounds of speech were a little overwhelming!  I’ve simply never heard these sounds before.

Overall, the sound quality is great. I’m hearing a lot more high pitched noises and consonants like t and s come through more clearly. It’s a lot easier to hear in busy, noisy places like when I’m out doing hearing screenings in the community. My own voice sounds more natural too – not “barrel-like.”

Listening to music with these in is also a whole new experience. The instruments sound clearer and more distinct.  I’ve been re-listening to songs from the 80s and 90s and am just amazed at what I’m hearing. Sometimes they sound like entirely different songs!

Automatic Programs

You know how people say they take their hearing for granted? Lately, I’ve started saying I take my hearing aids for granted.  I hardly ever touch them, except to insert them and take them out. They really do automatically adjust to the listening situation seamlessly. With other hearing aids I’ve worn, I’ve noticed the programs changing and it was really annoying.

Comfort & Insertion

I find these hearing aids very easy to insert and comfortable to wear.  There are a variety of custom earmolds to suit different patients. I opt to wear them with the domes, which I find more comfortable than acrylic hard shells, while patients with dexterity issues may want to look at the cShells.

Battery Life

In my experience, claims about battery life have stood up. I’m getting 8 or 9 days per battery vs. 5 or 6 days from my old hearing aids.

Technology Compatibility

You can stream your phone, computer or TV directly to your hearing aids through the ComPilot II. The new smartphone app from Phonak also lets you control volume and programs with new precision, including the ability to adjust volume in the right or left ear separately.

Is Audeo V Right for You?

From a professional perspective, one of the best things about this hearing aid is the wide range of people it works for. It will fit patients with mild to severe hearing loss and can be reprogrammed should your hearing loss change. It’s easy to use for people who want something simple, but has a lot of advanced features for people who are technology savvy. And should you ever run into trouble with it, many repairs can be done in the center, meaning you won’t have to have it sent away.

Choosing Between the Audeo V90, V70, V50 and V30

The biggest difference between the performance levels is the different number of channels each offers. I tell patients it’s like shopping for a TV: For better resolution, choose a television with more pixels per inch. For clearer hearing, choose a hearing aid with more channels. (This can be especially important for people with “ski slope hearing loss” because some areas that might sound too loud or not loud enough with fewer channels.)

I’ve been lucky to wear the premium V90s and that’s what I’d recommend if you want the best sound. The V90 does amazing in the car or in places that echo like the museum even when compared to the V70. There’s still a lot to offer in the lower performance levels for patients looking for something more in-budget though. I recommend trying the different models out to see which performance level works best for  you.

Try Audeo V Hearing Aids Free

You can try the Audeo V line of hearing aids absolutely free by calling us.

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Phonak Bolero V: A Patient’s Review

Patient Dick Riddle of Wisconsin recently contacted Connect Hearing to share his experience wearing the new Phonak Bolero V-50 hearing aid. After wearing hearing aids for more than 30 years, Dick says he’s never been as impressed with technology before. We’re honored to be able to share his words below.

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for more than 30 years and have never had one help as much as this one. I call it “my new best friend” – the first thing I do is put it on in the morning and the last thing I do at night is take it out.

I really have to thank the staff at your Oconomowoc hearing clinic. We looked at a few options, but the second I tried this new hearing aid, I knew it was the one for me! I’ve heard sounds I haven’t heard since I started wearing hearing aids. I think of it as “the Cadillac of hearing aids.”

Having a great hearing aid is something of a safety issue for me. I completely lost hearing in my left ear after having a mastoidectomy in 1957. Without my hearing aids, I wouldn’t drive very often – imagine not being able to hear an ambulance coming up behind you. It would be dangerous to everyone on the highway.

For anyone considering getting trying hearing aids for the first time, my advice is to remember everyone is different. Look at all your options and work with your hearing professional to make sure you’re getting the best aid for your situation You can’t expect hearing aids to replace your natural hearing – but today’s technology is as close to a perfect replacement as I’ve ever had!

Try Bolero V Hearing Aids Free!

You can try the Bolero V line of hearing aids absolutely free by contacting us.

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Do I Really Need an Annual Hearing Test?

Wondering if you’re overdue for a hearing check-up? Health professionals recommend getting a baseline hearing test by the time you reach adulthood and an annual hearing test after age 55. Here’s why:

Hearing Loss Usually Goes Undetected Until It’s Serious

No one wakes up one day thinking, “My hearing just isn’t what it was this time last year.” Instead, most people wait to get their hearing tested until they’re experiencing serious communication problems – an average of 10 years after the first signs of hearing loss appear.  By monitoring your hearing for changes, you can catch problems before they have a chance to impact your life.

Reason 2: Hearing Loss is Tied to Serious Health Problems

Studies have linked hearing loss to major health problems including depression and dementia. Getting hearing loss treated promptly has been shown to both reduce depression symptoms and to help maintain cognitive functioning.

Reason 3: Hearing Loss is Bad for Relationships

You’re annoyed about having to ask people to repeat themselves. Meanwhile, family and friends feel like you’re just not paying attention. While you may think you hear okay, just a few misunderstandings each day can take their toll at both home and work.

In reality, many of these problems are common signs of hearing loss:

  • You often ask others to repeat what they say.
  • You feel like everyone is mumbling.
  • You have trouble understanding speech when there’s a lot of background noise or when the speaker is behind you.
  • Others complain you have the TV or radio on too loud.

Whether or not you suspect you have a hearing loss, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your hearing with an annual hearing checkup. The test is free, painless and takes less than an hour.

– See more at: https://www.connecthearing.com/blog/do-i-need-annual-hearing-test/#sthash.HvBNXenV.dpuf