Healthy Hearing

Noise Hurts More Than Your Hearing

by Susan M. Lew, Au.D

Did you know that loud noises can affect your whole body? By protecting your ears from noise, you’re protecting your whole body. Loud noises can:  

  • Raise blood pressure
  • Disrupt sleep patterns
  • Cause muscle strain
  • Harm digestion

Preventative Maintenance

by Susan M. Lew, Au.D

Cerumen, dba, earwax, is actually a friend to our ears, but not so to our hearing aids. A large percentage of all hearing aid repairs are due to cerumen, ear debris (flaky skin) and resulting moisture.  Cerumen is a natural product of the ear canal and helps in the removal of debris from the canal and provides protection to the normal ear canal.

Cerumen consists of fats, fatty acids, ash, yellow pigment and several other substances. The color and degree of hardness determine its consistency (dryness), i.e., the harder and darker, the dryer it is.

Cerumen forms a coating on the lining of the external ear canal. It migrates out of the external canal in “conveyor belt” fashion with the migrating keratin layers and unless impeded, will generally migrate out of the ear altogether.

However, if “pushed” back with a Q-tip (do not do this), the migration is stopped, or slowed down, and can be one cause of impacted wax.

When cerumen migrates toward the receiver of the hearing aid your body temperature “melts” the cerumenous debris and it then clogs the receiver, acting as a barrier. What is usually noticed is a muffled or mushy sound as the wax inhibits the functioning of the receiver and subsequently impedes the high frequency sounds of speech which give the most clarity to speech. Some examples might be (roof, ruth, root), (knock, knot), (shirt, shirk).

Acoustic feedback can sometimes be a result of impacted wax. The amplified sound coming from the hearing aid “boomerangs” off the wall of wax and is “re-routed” toward the microphone of the hearing aid and emerges as that “whistling” sound.

Cerumen management is critical to the performance of your hearing aid!

There are various ways to manage this recurring problem and we can suggest the best way for removal of the debris when you arrange a visit.