Frequently asked questions
Why should I get my hearing tested?
You should get your hearing tested if you have any difficulty in hearing clearly, or if friends or family complain that you mishear or that they need to repeat themselves. If you do have a hearing loss, we can provide a full hearing test and detailed diagnosis, enabling the correct treatment to be recommended for your condition so that your hearing loss can be managed effectively.
You should also book a hearing test if you have Tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears) or if you have ever been regularly exposed to loud noises. It is also advisable to have a hearing test if you are diabetic or have hypertension or have a family history of hearing loss.
What is involved in a hearing test?
A hearing test is painless and non-invasive and will include responding to sounds of different loudness levels and pitch. It should also include how you respond to words and speech in the presence of background noise. A comprehensive hearing test and consultation will usually take about 60 minutes.
If you have a hearing loss, it will be discussed in detail with you and a personalised hearing management plan will then be recommended. This could also include onward referral to your GP, ear nose and throat specialists if appropriate.
What difference do hearing aids make?
Hearing aids can help improve communication for both adults and children, and therefore address all the implications of hearing loss. They allow you to hear speech and therefore participate fully in everyday life situations, enjoy music and socialise, speak on the telephone, watch TV and participate in all the activities that people with hearing loss often avoid due to the frustration of not being able to hear well.
They improve the quality of life for children and adults and the people around them!
Why is it important to wear hearing aids if you have hearing loss.
Hearing aids improve everyday communication and reduce the risk of other associated conditions e.g. Cognitive decline, depression and social isolation. Many studies have shown the link between hearing loss and depression, social isolation, loneliness and dementia.
A report by the Lancet in 2020 specifically lists the use of hearing aids as a modifiable risk factor for dementia. Other studies have also identified the link between hearing loss and diabetes, falls and cardiovascular disease, so the benefit of wearing hearing aids reaches far beyond just improving your hearing!
How much do hearing aids cost?
The cost of hearing aids is dependent on the quality and technology level of the hearing aids recommended. Prices of good hearing aids usually start at around £2,000 per pair, while the most advanced hearing aids may cost up to £5,000 per pair on average. Always be sure to check what the prices quoted include in terms of follow-ups, repairs and guarantees.
At Kent Hearing we include regular microsuction, on-going hearing testing and re-programming with every pair of hearing aids we offer.
How should I clean my ears?
Most people’s ears clean themselves naturally, but if you have excess earwax try putting 2-3 drops of olive oil in each ear at night to help soften the wax. It may then clear naturally. There are several good over-the-counter eardrops that may also clear unwanted wax. Ask your local pharmacist for their recommendation. If you still have earwax, book an appointment at Kent Hearing on 01732 525912 to have the wax removed by microsuction.
We strongly recommend that you do not use cotton buds to remove earwax, as this will compact the wax and push it further into the ear canal, often making your symptoms worse.
You should never use candles or any other objects or devices to clean your ears.
Do you treat children?
Yes. We are one of the very few local practices qualified to treat children of all ages. We commonly test for glue ear and hearing loss for children aged 3 and above and we may also treat children from birth, subject to discussion with parents. We work with ENT surgeons and GP specialists to provide the best possible hearing services to paediatric patients.
Dr Carling is also able to perform microsuction on children where required. We provide customised swimplugs for children prone to ear infections or who have grommets.
What is glue ear?
Glue ear occurs when the middle ear fills up with liquid or fluid. The liquid or fluid often becomes thick and sticky, hence the name glue ear. Glue ear is particularly common in children. It usually clears up on its own but if left untreated for more than 2-3 months, it can lead to ear infection and in more serious cases, hearing loss.
If you are concerned that you or your child may have glue ear, make an appointment to see your GP or a hearing professional who is qualified to treat children.
Why do my ears produce so much earwax?
Our ears produce wax to help protect them from infection and to keep them clean. Earwax moisturises the skin in the ear canal, preventing dry skin and protecting the ear from dust and bacteria. Some people’s ears produce more wax than their ears can naturally remove, and this wax can harden and block the ear canal, resulting in earache, partial hearing loss and Tinnitus (a ringing or other noise in the ear).
This excess earwax can be painlessly and quickly removed using a process called microsuction. (See below)
What is microsuction?
Microsuction is the gold standard for earwax removal. It uses a microscope and a very small suction device to view and then remove unwanted or problem earwax from the ear canal. Microsuction is quick, safe and highly effective with none of the risks associated with syringing.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a perception of sound in the absence of an external stimulus. Many people describe this as a ringing, or buzzing or whistling or humming, but it can in fact be any sound. Usually tinnitus is the result of loud noise exposure. This may be work, recreational or incidental and, in many cases, also a result of hearing loss.
Tinnitus may also be the side effect of certain medications. While there is no actual cure for tinnitus, there are various forms of treatment and help for it. It depends on the cause and which treatment option is best suited to the individual.