September 2013

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My spouse is hard-of-hearing. How can we improve communication?

There are many things you can do to facilitate communication with a hard-of-hearing person. Get their attention before you speak and face them so they can see you as they will instinctively do some lip reading. Remember to speak clearly, not just loudly, and slow down! Rephrasing is always better than just repeating the same word over and over, and don’t be afraid to manipulate your environment, like moving to a quieter place, or turning off the TV. But, most important, BE PATIENT! Remember that communication can be very frustrating and exhausting for someone with hearing loss.


Will wearing hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Hearing aids have output limiters and when programmed appropriately for your hearing loss, they will not cause your hearing to worsen. However, hearing aids are not hearing protection. When around loud noise such as concerts, guns, or power tools, hearing protection should be worn. Some people comment that they feel their hearing loss is greater after taking the aids off. This is because they have gotten used to hearing better! What they are experiencing is a perception of greater hearing loss, not an actual change.


What is earwax and how can I avoid earwax problems?

Earwax, or cerumen, is produced by glands in the ear canal to help keep the ear clean and healthy. It contains mild antibacterial and antifungal properties and gradually migrates outward, taking dirt and dead skin with it. For most people, it only causes problems when cotton swabs are used, pushing the wax further in the ear canal. The best thing to do to clean your ears is to do nothing – just let your ears clean themselves naturally. If you do get a build-up, you can try over-the-counter eardrops or ask your physician to remove it for you.