tel: 0345 222 0579      email: mail@helpinhearing.co.uk

  • Summer hearing health tips

    Summer Hearing Health Tips

    With the summer months approaching, our thoughts go to holidays, working in the garden and if the weather holds maybe some outdoor theatre and concerts. That means it is also time to think about our summer hearing health. Here are some of our summer hearing health tips.

    Holidays

    Your hearing aid accessories are vital parts of your holiday packing list so do check a week or so before that you have enough batteries and domes for your trip. It’s a good idea to change the wax guards too before you set off – please contact us for an appointment if you would like us to service your hearing aids before your holiday.

    If you are travelling to a country with high humidity, I would recommend investing in a hearing aid dehumidifier. These small pots use a dessicant to draw any moisture from the hearing aid overnight.

    Swimming

    When the weather is hot, a dip in a swimming pool is just the way to cool off, but do take some precautions against developing a case of Swimmer’s Ear. All water contains bacteria but there are higher levels in untreated water such as river and sea water. When water containing bacteria gets trapped in the ear, it is in the right environment – a nice warm ear canal – and the bacteria start to multiply and this may lead to an infection in the skin within the ear casing inflammation, which can become very painful.

    Follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of Swimmer’s Ear:

    1. Use a swimming cap or ear plugs to minimise the amount of water going into your ears.

    2. Dry ears thoroughly after swimming. If you feel you have any water trapped in your ear canal, lean your head over towards your shoulder, jiggle your ear lobe and gravity should do the rest, allowing the water to drain out. Never use cotton buds to try and mop up any water.

    3. Do not try and remove any ear wax other than wiping it away from the entrance of your ear canal with a flannel or tissue. Again, never use cotton buds to remove ear wax. If you feel that you have a build-up of wax, please make an appointment to see us so that we can safely remove it.

    Managing Noise

    It is good hearing health to protect our ears from excessive noise. Noise protection applies to all the family, not just those wearing hearing aids and not just the obvious times such as loud concerts or sporting events, but also when using electrical tools such as lawnmowers and DIY power tools. Help In Hearing can provide inexpensive over-the-counter noise plugs – please contact us for more details.

    Social Events

    Summer is the time for meeting with friends and family and barbecues and parties. Your family will be delighted that you are taking care of your hearing health by wearing your hearing aids, so if you have not worn your aids for a while, it’s time to get them out again. Do make an appointment with us for a clean and service if required.

    Summer hearing health tips – where to find out more

    Read our advice on What to do if your hearing aids get wet

    Read our tips on Travelling with hearing loss

    Get in touch with us if you’d like your hearing aids serviced or for ear wax removal.

     

    Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

  • Getting rid of ear wax safely

    Getting rid of ear wax safely

    Ear wax (also known as cerumen), a bodily secretion that many of us could live without, is actually very useful for our health – in small amounts. As a natural cleanser that moves from the inside of the ear canal to the outside, ear wax traps and gathers dirt, debris, dead skin cells, dust and hair. Moreover, ear wax has antibacterial properties, keeping the ears lubricated and protecting them from various infections. In this article we look at getting rid of ear wax safely and the reasons why excess or impacted ear wax can become a problem.

    Why do some people have problems with ear wax?

    Our ENT ear wax microsuction equipment
    Our ENT ear wax microsuction equipment

    Everyone makes ear wax, but some people produce more than others. This is due to many reasons. The amount and quality of ear wax each person produces depends on their genetics. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that a high percentage of East Asians produce dry ear wax, whereas people of African or European ancestry tend to produce wet ear wax.

    On the other hand, people with small or narrow ear canals can also experience ear wax build-up, since these anatomical characteristics make it more difficult for ear wax to exit the ear canal naturally.

    People with hearing aids are also prone to ear wax build-up, since they have a foreign body in their ear every day which can lead to a blockage and impacted ear wax over time. For the same reason, it’s not recommended to use cotton swabs to remove excess ear wax.

    How do I know if I need to see a specialist?

    If you feel that your ears are full or you are in pain, then chances are that your ears are impacted. Other symptoms that suggest you are in need of ear wax removal include loss of hearing, ringing ears (tinnitus), itchy ear canals, discharges and/or smelly ears.

    If you have any of the above symptoms, you should book an ear wax removal appointment. It’s really important to see whether ear wax is causing pain or discomfort, since ear problems can also be caused by other conditions. The audiologist will look into your ears carefully and determine whether they are blocked by excessive ear wax.

    Ear wax microsuction

    Before and after ear wax microsuction
    Before and after ear wax removal with microsuction

    If ear wax removal is necessary, then there are many options. In some cases, irrigation (removal by water) works well. However, irrigation does not always dislodge the entirety of the ear wax blockage, particularly if the ear canal is narrow. Microsuction is an alternative, innovative method of cleaning the ear canal, using a suction device guided by a microscopic camera. Microsuction is quick, safe and does not need pre-treatment. The audiologist will use a camera to navigate around the ear canal, safely removing the excess ear wax. In most cases, the blockage is removed in a few minutes.

    Cleaning your ears properly

    To prevent future problems with your ears, don’t stick anything inside them. Only use cotton swabs on the outside of your ear canal and if you feel uncomfortable, see an audiologist. More importantly, stay away from ear candles or any DIY remedies which are advertised as natural ear wax removal methods, since they can harm your ears.

    Getting rid of ear wax safely – where to find out more

    At Help in Hearing we generally offer microsuction but occasionally we carry out irrigation (water) or “dry removal” using a small probe. The method will depend on your specific history and condition of the ear. No GP referral is required. 

    Managed by qualified audiologists

    Only our carefully selected, fully qualified and experienced audiologists with additional training in aural microsuction ear wax removal will carry out ear wax microsuction.

    Please fill in our online form to request an ear wax removal appointment.

    Or read more about ear wax on our Ear Wax Management page.

  • Selecting an audiologist

    What should you look for when selecting an audiologist?

    It is estimated that one in six people in the UK have hearing loss and fail to address the issue for up to ten years. That’s 10 million people who are not addressing their health! And it’s not an age related situation as 3.6 million people with hearing loss are of working age. Staggeringly just less than half (4.8 million people) wear hearing aids and less than 15% (1.4 million) use them regularly. Leaving 3.8 million people that are not addressing the issue, and trying to manage day to day with one of their senses underperforming. Like any other health situation such as sight, addressing hearing loss early ensures you can remedy the problem and continue to enjoy an active and full lifestyle. Research shows that ongoing stimulation of the cognitive functions allows the brain to keep engaged and maintain good memory and communication skills.

    If you are one of the majority that has sidestepped hearing issues and you’re ready to bring your hearing back in line, then you need to know what you should look for when selecting an audiologist. Below we highlight the key factors and choices you need to make. 

    Audiology experience

    The Help in Hearing team - independent, family run hearing care practice
    The Help in Hearing team: (Left to Right) Gilly, Kevin, Selma, Jan

    Your hearing is so complex that it is vital for a hearing assessment to be comprehensive and thorough. A consultation with an experienced audiologist is the first step on your journey.

    Hearing technology is advancing at great speed, but your hearing needs more than just technology. It also needs experience.

    At Help in Hearing we are a local, independent, family owned, hearing healthcare practice with a combined 50 years’ experience. We are proud to offer our clients unrivalled standards of professional hearing health care.

    Our friendly but highly professional approach has earned us life-long client relationships built on trust, reliability and continuity of care. Many have become friends and are self-proclaimed members of our Help in Hearing family. Our hearing care specialists have exceptional audiological knowledge and their experience in all aspects of hearing care is unrivalled. They are committed to ongoing and continuing education, frequently attending seminars, courses and trade shows to keep up with newest ideas and developments in the industry.

    Independent audiologist

    When you decide to seek services from independent audiologists, such as ourselves, you are looked after by professionals who are committed to best service, attention and solutions with access to products from a range of manufacturers. Our business exists entirely from recommendations and referrals from clients who have experienced our bespoke, personal but highly professional approach. The latest Which? report confirmed that the highest satisfactory score for hearing care providers was achieved by the smaller, independent local businesses, because to us “it’s personal.”

    Hearing health

    Hearing health is important to us
    Kevin with one of our clients

    Our hearing health should be equally as important as eye checks, dental checks and hearing checks and should become the norm from a very early age. We at Help in Hearing advise that hearing tests should be carried out regularly from early childhood through to our senior years.

    At Help in Hearing we understand that caring for your hearing health is just as important as caring for the rest of your overall health and wellbeing. By looking after all aspects of your hearing, ear care and hearing protection, we make sure you remain socially active, stay confident in your working environment and ascertain your continuing enjoyment of your hearing health.

    Listening

    An audiologist should listen to your story, establish your family history, find out any related medical information and understand your particular requirements.

    Evaluating

    Evaluating your hearing requirements will include a number of tests using state of the art diagnostic testing systems. You can’t know this on your own. You may think you are losing your hearing, but maybe you only need to have excess ear wax removed.

    Recommending

    Your hearing requirements are unique, so it’s important that a personal treatment plan is created for you that exactly matches your lifestyle, technology requirements and budget.

    After care

    Aftercare is very important
    Aftercare is very important to us

    Your audiologist should see you for as many follow-ups as necessary, to ensure that your new device is comfortable and as effective as possible. It is also helpful if the costs of your care can be spread across a hearing plan membership programme.

    Client Testimonials

    Client testimonials
    Make sure you get some recommendations from other clients

    Does your audiologist have good recommendations from other clients? Check out their website and ask to talk to other clients to find out what they think. Or look at online sites such as GroHawk where you can look at reviews. Some of the testimonials we’ve received from our clients:

    “Selma gave me the most intensive hearing test, much more sophisticated than at the chemist”

    “Selma went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s the personal touch that you just wouldn’t find in the high street.”

    “I got sick of seeing so called audiologists who sold me expensive hearing aids without explaining how to use them.”

    “I made a lot of mistakes in seeking help and wasting many thousands of dollars and pounds on people who were merely hearing aid salesman posing as audiologists.”

    “I recommend Selma to everybody, because not only is she brilliant but she knows how to break through that most insidious aspect of loss of hearing which I see all around me, denial that it is happening, born out of fear.”

    “No effort has been spared to ensure that my hearing aids have been adjusted to give me the maximum possible benefit.”

    Commitment to quality of hearing care

    Commitment to quality of hearing care

    At Help in Hearing, our commitment to quality of care is unfaltering. We give you as much time as you need and never give up on anyone. Our aim is to help you maintain your hearing health and enjoy life to the full. We ask our clients to rate our service and are very proud to receive an overall score of 94% from our client feedback surveys to date.

    Selecting an audiologist – For us, it’s personal.

    If you’re based in the Buckinghamshire, UK area, and would like to talk to our experienced audiologists or come in for a thorough hearing assessment, please get in touch either by email or via our website form. You can also give us a ring on 0345 222 0579.

     

  • Hearing loss in young people

    Why hearing loss is becoming more common in young people

    We accept that hearing loss is something we may have to deal with as we get older. However, a growing number of young people are now reporting hearing loss to some degree. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.1 billion people aged between 12 and 35 are at risk of losing their hearing. Below are a few of the problems causing hearing loss in young people, and how we can prevent it.

    Modern technology

    With the rise of modern technology, including personal listening devices, stereo systems, and surround-sound cinema, young people today are being constantly exposed to loud noises. Prolonged exposure to loud music is known to cause tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss. To prevent damage, turn down the volume on your musical devices and consider wearing earplugs to live music events.

    Alcohol

    Studies have shown that alcohol may inhibit your middle ear’s acoustic reflex, which tells your muscles to contract in response to loud noise. The less sensitive your acoustic reflex, the more at risk you are of damaging your hearing. To prevent this, consider reducing your alcohol consumption when you know you will be exposed to loud noise, such as at a live music event.

    Noise pollution

    Young people are reigniting city centre living. Whilst this is having positive consequences for the vibrancy of our cities, noise pollution is also on the increase. From traffic and construction work to community events, city centre living is a hazard for young residents’ hearing. Even living next door to a noisy dog can put you at risk. To prevent hearing loss, plant bushes and trees around your home to block out noise. Wear earplugs at night to give your ears a reprieve. Alternatively, invest in soundproof insulation to keep the city noise outside.

    Going forward

    There are many things you can do to prevent hearing loss in young people in our noisy, modern world. Going forward, ensure you get regular hearing check-ups. Identifying a problem early on is vital to avoid permanent hearing loss.

    If you do notice a decline in your hearing, consider seeking advice about hearing aids. Studies suggest that attitudes toward hearing aids are becoming more positive. Hearing aids are no longer associated with seniors or being slow. In fact, 60% of young people now say they “would not hesitate to use them, if needed” to solve their hearing problems for good.

    Hearing loss in young people – where to find out more

    If you’d like to find out more about how to protect your hearing, visit our Hearing Protection page. 

    At Help in Hearing we can advise on the most appropriate hearing protection from custom made solutions, in the ear monitors, electronic noise suppressors for those that shoot or a non-customised product, should you need something urgent for a one off event. We also supply customised swim moulds. If you’d like to book an appointment to discuss your hearing or have your hearing tested, please fill in our online form.

  • How to drive safely with hearing loss

    How to drive safely with hearing loss – top tips revealed

    While the sense of sight is the most important aspect when driving, the sense of hearing is equally helpful. It helps you hear the raucous horn of an irritated driver, detect approaching emergency vehicles, or even remind you that your indicators are on. People with hearing loss do not drive any more dangerously than other drivers. However, it never hurts to take extra safety precautions when on the road. Keep these tips on how to drive safely with hearing loss in mind anytime you’re behind the wheel:

    Eliminate distractions

    Due to technological advancements, today’s hearing aids are marvels. They feature sensitive microphones tailored to differentiate between background noises and speech. Even with hearing aids, it’s very important to avoid any form of distractions.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    • Reduce your car’s audio volume
    • If you have passengers, ask them to keep their conversation to a minimum
    • Always close your car window
    • Avoid using your phone, drinking, eating

    Use your vision (rely on visual clues)

    Your sight should compensate for your reduced hearing ability. While good sight is essential for all drivers, it’s a must-have if you’re suffering from hearing loss.

    Some of the things you can do to amplify your vision include:

    • Always ensure your windows and windscreen are clean
    • Buy an extended rear view mirror
    • Keep your attention focused and eyes on the road
    • Be on the lookout for flashing lights at railway crossings and on approaching vehicles

    Have a set of hearing aids to improve your hearing performance

    Another way of becoming a safer driver is by purchasing and using hearing aids. They make it effortless to focus on sounds (warning signals, sirens, and horns) which matter on the road.

    Do you already own hearing aids? If yes, take these extra precautions when you’re driving:

    • Have your hearing assessed frequently
    • Always wear your hearing aids when driving
    • Always have an additional set of batteries

    Your car must be in top condition at all times

    For drivers with hearing loss, keeping a car in optimum working condition is an absolute necessity. Strange car noises might occur unheard, which can turn out to be a safety hazard not only to you and your passengers, but to other drivers as well. Consequently, you must stay up to date when it comes to routine maintenance to ensure the vehicle is in top condition. 

    Whether you have hearing challenges or hear well, there’s no doubt that driving demands a lot of responsibility. Part of the responsibility is to take care of your safety and that of others on the road. The above are just some of the tips to help you drive safely with hearing loss.

    How to drive safely with hearing loss – where to find out more

    If you think your hearing needs to be assessed, do get in touch with us and we can arrange a thorough hearing check-up. We also now provide several brands of hearing aids that are rechargeable so if you’re travelling away from home you can take your charger with you and not have to rely on batteries. 

    Image: Driving a car by Erik Starck licensed under Creative commons 4

  • Can mindfulness help tinnitus?

    Can mindfulness help tinnitus?

    We have invited local MBCT company Paron Mindfulness to run a workshop at our Marlow Tinnitus Support Group on October 15th. To give you an insight into the benefits of mindfulness, Costas Lambropoulos and Dr Charlotte Morris have written this exclusive guest editorial especially for our clients.

    Mindfulness - waterfallCan mindfulness help your tinnitus?

    Living with a condition such as tinnitus can be challenging. The experience of tinnitus and how it affects your daily life and wellbeing will be different for everyone. You may feel upset about the changes it has brought into your life, you may feel frustrated or angry, disheartened about the future or feel that others don’t understand or appreciate what it is like living with tinnitus.

    There may be times when you feel like you have turned a corner and other times when it feels like you cannot bear it for another moment. At these times it might be that you end up withdrawing from activities, become preoccupied with the sound or negative thoughts, or just run around keeping busy in order to hold the difficult feelings at bay and trying to ignore them. Either way, it is very easy to lose perspective and lose touch with the richness of the life that is possible. In this article we look at whether mindfulness can help with your tinnitus symptoms.

    What is mindfulness?

    Mindfulness is a meditation practice which seeks to cultivate awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness is not new and is rooted in ancient wisdom and practices. In the last 40 years, there has been a growing interest in whether Mindfulness can help with some of the challenges of modern life, including how to live well whatever difficulties we face.

    Through meditation practice, mindfulness enables us to be sensitive to the way we react to what appears in our lives moment by moment. We can begin to become aware of the way in which we tend to get caught up in trying to escape or avoid what we don’t like and hang on to pleasant experiences. Of course, it is natural to want to do this, but it does mean that most of the time we are not conscious of how quickly and habitually we react to our experience, sometimes in ways that are very unhelpful. We can train ourselves to develop an accurate awareness of what our experience actually is, rather than the story that pops into our mind immediately. This can give us the space to choose how we would like to respond rather than be pulled into an automatic stream of reactions.

    How mindfulness can help

    Mindfulness - BoatMindfulness is not a quick fix and it is not an approach that will appeal to, or suit, everyone. However, it can help us to change how we relate to our experience of tinnitus and the distress that it can cause. There is an old Buddhist analogy that seeks to help us understand our experience of suffering:

    “When an ordinary person experiences pain (either physical or emotional pain) they worry, agonise and feel distraught. Then they feel two types of pain, one physical and one mental. It’s as if this person was pierced by an arrow, and then immediately afterwards by a second arrow, and they experience the pain of two arrows.”

    Based on this understanding of suffering, our distress is not only related to the discomfort we might experience with tinnitus or the actual sensations or pitch of the sound that are present. It is our interpretation of what is taking place and the meaning we give to this that can either help us cope or intensify our distress and our tendency to react. It is as if the sound or high pitch might be the first arrow and our thoughts and reactions are a second arrow that penetrates even further and can make us feel helpless, angry or anxious. Sometimes the “noise” of our minds can create more distress than just the noise and symptoms of tinnitus.

    Fresh and friendly curiosity

    Mindfulness - forestIn his book “Full Catastrophe Living” Jon Kabat-Zinn refers to certain attitudes that can aid us in our mindfulness practice and allow us to relate to our moment-to-moment experience in a more helpful way. These attitudes can be particularly beneficial and support us at times when we feel overwhelmed by our experience or wish it wasn’t there.

    For example, approaching the present with a fresh and friendly curiosity and a non-judgemental attitude can make a significant difference to how we experience things in everyday life. This applies to any experiences, whether the mind tends to label them as pleasant or unpleasant. So rather than immediately striving to fix what we don’t like, we have a new path that, through practice, can minimise the levels of distress we experience and possibly maximise the pleasure of any given moment.

    Mindfulness is often taught in an eight-week programme. These courses start very simply, for example with some eating practices, that help us to become aware how often we are not with our present moment experience. Building on this foundation, we can begin to explore what it is like to intentionally bring ourselves into the present. Through practice, we may begin to appreciate that tinnitus is only one part of our experience – there are also may other sensations and experiences that are here in any moment. A mindfulness course can help us to discover a new way of approaching our body, senses, thoughts and feelings. The practice can gradually help us not just notice discomfort and difficulty but also ease and joy in our everyday life.

    About Paron Mindfulness

    Paron Mindfulness is a partnership between Dr Charlotte Morris and Costas Lambropoulos. They have trained as Mindfulness Teachers at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and have been teaching Mindfulness in the NHS and in private practice. Charlotte and Costas have been delivering mindfulness courses for people with long-term conditions for the last five years. They are particularly interested in exploring how mindfulness practice can enhance our sense of wellbeing. Charlotte and Costas deliver workshops, courses and retreats with the intention of practicing mindfulness meditations and encouraging participants to explore how mindfulness can help them in their own lives. For more information on upcoming events please visit our website or email us. 

    Can mindfulness help tinnitus? – Where to find out more

    To discuss your symptoms of tinnitus or have a full hearing check, please get in touch

    You can also read more about tinnitus on our Tinnitus Explained page.

    Head over to our Tinnitus Management page to find out the various options available for management of your symptoms.

    We hold regular Tinnitus Support Group events for people living in the Marlow and Farnham Common areas of Buckinghamshire. Find out the date of our next events and topics to be covered by visiting our Tinnitus Support Group page.

  • Do I need ear wax removal?

    Do I need ear wax removal?

    What is ear wax?

    Ear wax is a natural secretion found in the ear. It helps to keep the ear canal lubricated while protecting the ears against dirt, dust and bacteria. Without a certain amount of ear wax, the ears will become dry and increasingly prone to infection. Wax or cerumen, as it is medically known, can build up, causing problems within the ear. This can happen over time if an individual has dry, narrow or hairy ear canals.

    It’s not always a good idea to try and clear the wax yourself. Pushing cotton buds, hair clips or any other similar implements down the ear canal can lead to irritation. You will only agitate the ear canal, stripping it of its natural oils, causing discomfort and itchiness. When showering or swimming, water can get into the ear expanding the wax. This may give a sensation of blockage in the ear and for tinnitus sufferers, increasing the perception of tinnitus.

    What should you do about ear wax removal?

    The build-up of ear wax can also vary from person to person depending on their age, diet and environment. If wax build-up is causing problems with hearing loss, partial deafness or is uncomfortable, it’s time to seek the services of audiologist specialists. Ears with too much wax in them can certainly be troublesome and in some cases, painful. If you have discharge coming from the ears, don’t attempt any home remedies, hearing health is too important. An independent audiologist will provide all the advice and support needed in alleviating ear wax build-up.

    Ways to remove ear wax

    If ear wax removal is necessary, it can be removed by irrigation (water) or if possible, “dry removal” using a small probe. This can’t be undertaken however if an individual has had ear surgery, a perforated ear drum or a recent infection. Another method is ear wax microsuction, which is a procedure useing gentle suction to remove excessive or troublesome ear wax. It is performed with the aid of a surgical microscope and a calibrated suction device, without the introduction of any materials or liquids. Ear wax microsuction is one of the safest, most effective, quickest and most comfortable methods of removing ear wax. Whichever form of ear wax removal is best for you, an experienced audiologist will explain it before treatment begins. Many people, in fact, find the removal of ear wax quite a pleasant experience. Once the wax is removed, sound won’t be muffled anymore and your ears will feel better too.

    Do I need ear wax removal? Where to find out more

    To find out more about ear wax removal, visit our Ear Wax Removal page. Or please fill in our contact form to get in touch or book an appointment for ear wax removal.

  • Taming Tinnitus with Hypnotherapy, by Bret Freeman, Master Hypnotherapist

    Taming Tinnitus with Hypnotherapy

    Master Hypnotist Bret Freeman was a guest speaker at our recent Tinnitus Support Group event and has written us an article, “Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy,” about how hypnotherapy can help tinnitus. Read the article below, where you’ll also see Bret has a special offer for Help in Hearing clients.

    Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy

    For many, tinnitus can be a tricky thing. That constant sound that only you can hear and seems to come from nowhere, the whining, rattling, humming, buzzing or however it manifests itself to you. It’s tricky because the more you talk about it the worse it seems to get (so, I assume by reading this article you are aware of that sound right now)

    I have had many people in my hypnotherapy practice achieve good results as a result of our sessions. The thing with tinnitus is that it is entirely a personal experience and is different for everyone. My clients have described the sound in a variety of ways, a variety of intensities and a variety of locations in their heads. For some it is like constant a rattling of chains in the right side and front part of their head, for others it is a high pitched whistle that seems to be coming from the back left, and I have heard many other descriptions. How about you? Have you ever tried to place your tinnitus? Where is it in your head? Left, right, centre? Front, middle, back? High or low? This is often one of the first techniques I use with my clients, because once it is identified, we can begin to manipulate it.

    Tinnitus is a personal experience

    In my experience, tinnitus usually responds very well to hypnotherapy. This is primarily because tinnitus is such a personal experience. In much the same way, hypnotherapy is also a very personal experience. By understanding the client, the circumstances and triggers around the tinnitus, and how to apply a variety of tools and techniques, my clients have been able to turn down the volume, change the intensity and move location of the sounds in their heads.

    The mind magnifies what it focuses on

    The fundamentals of how hypnosis can help tinnitus sufferers manage their symptoms have to do with helping the unconscious mind learn to tune out the noise associated with tinnitus. There are noises all day long that we simply do not pay attention to. Much like when you are at a dinner party and there are several conversations around the table, you are tuned into the conversation you are having and not the others, even though they are taking place in close proximity. There are traffic noises, birds singing, noises associated with household appliances and many others that we “hear but don’t pay attention to” all day long. We simply tune these noises out because they are unimportant on irrelevant to us. We tend to place all of these sounds in the “hear but don’t pay attention category”. This is why the more we think about tinnitus the more tinnitus is present, subconsciously, it becomes an “important” noise (the mind magnifies what it focuses on). With all of this in mind, one of the aims of hypnosis can be to move the tinnitus associated sound into the “hear but don’t pay attention” category.

    Breaking habits

    Subconsciously, our brains form habits. These habits control things like our internal state, our reactions to certain stimuli etc… The thing is, we all create a set of “default” habits, or behaviours and for some, tinnitus becomes the default. This is one of the reasons it may be more prevalent during certain times of the day (i.e. at bedtime). Settling into habits requires less work than to break these habits and because for the most part, the human brain is a lazy organ, it will always choose the path of least resistance.

    Communicate directly with the unconscious mind

    We all have a conscious and subconscious mind. These two parts of our minds are separated by what is known as the critical faculty. This is essentially the “boundary” between these two parts. The critical faculty compares everything we see and everything we experience with our own internal existing knowledge base (which includes our self-beliefs, limitations and challenges we face). If the experience doesn’t fit within the confines of our knowledge base, we dismiss it and label that thing as inaccurate. This is partially why hypnosis is so effective with tinnitus. Hypnosis allows the hypnotist to communicate directly with the unconscious mind of the subject and by bypassing the critical faculty allows new learnings and behaviours to be adopted. Many of my clients (particularly the clients that suffer from depression and/or anxiety) tell me that they notice behaviour changes in themselves and are able to deal with situations in very different, more constructive ways than they use to as a result of our sessions. The same holds true for smoking cessation. By bypassing the critical faculty, new learnings and habits can be adopted and change old behaviours.

    Hypnotherapy tools and techniques

    The key to living with tinnitus is to learn to use the tools and techniques provided by the hypnotherapist to manage it. For some, simply changing the priority of the sound helps. For others, it is a change in the location, for others it is associating the sound with an object and moving that object off into the distance and for others it is dealing with sources of anxiety and stress.

    Hypnotherapy, like tinnitus, is different for everyone and there are many tools and techniques available. The key is finding the right hypnotherapist, finding the right tools and techniques, and applying them effectively to your situation.

    About Bret Freeman

    Bret Freeman is an ABH certified Master Hypnotist, ABNLP Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and TLA Certified Master Time Line Therapist. He is a registered therapist with the Complimentary National Healthcare Council, Hypnotherapy Association, and General Hypnotherapy Register.

    Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy – where to find out more

    For more information and to schedule and introductory chat, call 07917 385 118 or send an email to Bret. You can visit Bret’s website here.

    Special Discount

    A Brighter You is currently offering a Help in Hearing discount. Just mention Help in Hearing when you call or write to us for this special offer.

    For more information about tinnitus and how we can help, please visit the Help in Hearing Tinnitus Explained page or get in touch with us.

  • What you need to know about ear wax removal

    What you need to know about ear wax removal

    Ear wax is a natural part of ear health. We all have ear wax, it’s just that some people produce more wax than others. Below we explore what you need to know about ear wax removal – what ear wax is comprised of, its protective role, and ear wax removal methods.

    What is ear wax?

    Ear wax is a combination of dead skin cells, secretions and dust. This gradually builds up over time in the ear canal. The consistency and amount will vary between individuals and there is no way of stopping it from producing.

    The role of ear wax

    Although often viewed as a nuisance, ear wax does have an important role to play. It helps to lubricate the ear canal and protects foreign objects from entering the ear canal such as dirt, bacteria and dust.

    Signs that your ears are blocked with wax

    There are a number of signs that can indicate your ears are blocked with wax. These include difficulty hearing, tinnitus, earache, dizziness and recurring ear infections.

    Self-wax removal warning

    It’s important that you don’t insert cotton buds into your ear canal, as this can push the wax further into the ear and cause damage to the ear canal.  

    Ear wax microsuction

    Ear wax microsuction is a procedure which uses gentle suction to remove excessive or troublesome ear wax. It is performed with the aid of a surgical microscope and a calibrated suction device, without the introduction of any materials or liquids. Ear wax microsuction is one of the safest, most effective, quickest and most comfortable methods of removing ear wax. 

    What you need to know about ear wax removal – where to find out more

    Help in Hearing offers hearing health advice via our independent audiologists. Visit our ear wax removal services and microsuction page to learn more.

    Or please do get in touch with us today to book an appointment for ear wax removal.

  • How to improve your hearing health

    4 tips to help you improve your hearing health

    We all know the importance of having regular health checks as we grow older, including those trips to the GP and dentist. But many of us forget the importance of looking after and maintaining our hearing health. Early detection, in the form of hearing tests and assessments, can help to prolong and enhance your hearing. Now is the time to take action and below we share four tips on how to improve your hearing health.

    1. Turn down that volume

    One useful piece of hearing advice is to turn down the volume. One of the biggest causes of hearing loss is down to prolonged exposure to loud noises, especially via headphones. We’re not saying that you can’t listen to music in this way, but just be mindful of the volume, and if you can, switch to over-the-head earphones, as opposed to ear buds. Turn it down a little, and ensure you take regular breaks. Your ears will thank you for it.

    2. The importance of hearing protection

    If your work environment consists of loud noises, then it’s important to follow all basic safety rules and wear ear protection at all times. You may be a gardener and use chainsaws and lawnmowers, or you may work on a construction site with loud and heavy machinery. No matter what environment you work in, wear those ear defenders or sound-reducing headphones to protect your ears.

    3. Don’t use cotton buds

    Many people use cotton buds to clean our ears and to get rid of unwanted ear wax. Although cotton buds look like they’re fine for cleaning our ears, you should avoid using them, as they can damage the delicate ear drum, and especially so in children. Ear wax acts as a natural part of ear health, as it helps to stop dirt and foreign objects from entering the ear canal. If wax does become a problem, then it is always best to see a health professional.

    4. The importance of the hearing checkup

    Finally, hearing testing is vital for maintaining ear health. Many people believe that they should only have a hearing test when over the age of 60, or when they begin to have some difficulty, but this is simply not true. Hearing loss can be a gradual occurrence, and regular hearing tests can pick up on any early problems. Early intervention is key in helping you to maintain hearing health.

    How to improve your hearing health – where to find out more

    Please do get in touch with us here at Help in Hearing for further advice on how to improve your hearing health and to arrange a hearing assessment.

    Please click to find out what to expect of a hearing assessment with us.