Sometimes life takes us by surprise and things go wrong. Our ears and our hearing aids are not excluded from this. During this time of self-isolation we are not able to offer routine face-to-face appointments. But in the event of a hearing health emergency we can still provide support.
What is a hearing health emergency?
A hearing health emergency is rare but can trigger feelings of anxiety and helplessness. It includes but is not limited to a persistent pain in one or both ears, a hearing aid malfunction, or sudden loss of hearing. Other symptoms which would require immediate medical advice would be dizziness or sudden onset tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Persistent ear pain
Ear ache is common but sometimes it can be unbearable. Common causes are infection and wax build up.
If you have persistent ear pain, the first course of action would be to contact your GP. At present, GP’s are providing phone consultations initially and will likely prescribe antibiotics if they feel a bacterial infection may be present. If they suspect ear wax they will probably instruct you to use some olive oil or bicarbonate soda solution to help break down the wax. The latest guidance for audiologists states that we can perform microsuction ear wax removal in the event of an emergency so please do get in touch if you feel you have a significant build up.
Hearing aid malfunction
A hearing aid malfunction can leave you feeling isolated and anxious. Please do not panic if this happens.
We are offering a kerbside service during lockdown which means we can come to your address and fix your hearing aid at the roadside within social distance guidelines. Most of the time we do not need to send the hearing aid away for repair. This means you will not have to go long periods without the hearing aid.
In the event we need to send your hearing aid away we will offer you a loan hearing aid so that you can continue to hear optimally. The loan aid is complimentary and is included as part of your care plan with Sevenoaks Hearing.
Sudden loss of hearing
A sudden and dramatic loss of hearing is considered a medical emergency. It can be caused by a common virus that attacks the inner ear. If left untreated this sudden loss of hearing can be permanent. However, if you intervene quickly you can recover a large proportion of the hearing that was lost. There is a critical window of 72 hours which gives you the best chance of an optimal recovery.
If you do experience a dramatic and sudden loss of hearing in one or both ears we will advise you on the steps that you need to take to get the best outcome.
If you are unsure or you have noticed only a mild loss of hearing still do give us a call. We can provide an over the phone consultation to try and figure out what is going on.
Dizziness and Tinnitus
Dizziness and tinnitus, although not always considered a medical emergency, can be extremely distressing and unpleasant. If you experience any of these symptoms please contact us so we can provide the appropriate advice and support.
In this difficult time, we can provide support using over the phone and digital services. This is called teleaudiology. Our patient management system allows us to use video conferencing to see and speak to you directly from your home. For many modern bluetooth hearing aids we can also provide remote fine tuning and assistance.
We often recommend using the video conferencing service for individuals with hearing loss as using the phone can be difficult. Video conferencing allows you to lip read and pick up on body language which helps with speech processing. You may wish to see our hints and tips on using the phone in our other article, which you can find here.
sundries and supplies
Although not urgent, you may be worrying about being able to source sundries and supplies for your hearing aids during this difficult time. Rest assured, we are still fully operational and can send out batteries, wax guards, filters and anything else you may need to continue hearing well. For people that live locally we hand deliver the goods and simultaneously service the hearing aids at the kerbside so it is well worth staying in touch.
About Sevenoaks Hearing
At Sevenoaks Hearing, we provide a bespoke hearing service, using state-of-the-art technology to provide an accurate diagnosis and an effective solution. As we are independent of any manufacturer, we can also provide the best solution for your lifestyle. Find out about our hearing assessments and other treatment services.
Written by Adam Chell, Lead Audiologist at Sevenoaks Hearing. Visit our independent hearing centres in Sevenoaks, Banstead and East Grinstead or book an appointment now.