Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Don’t let an outer ear infection spoil your holiday entertainment

As many people set out for holiday in coastal towns during the hot South African summer days, more attention should be paid to ear health. With people taking a dip at every opportunity, the risk of an outer ear infection can increase significantly. An early diagnosis of external otitis can prevent any serious infection. Here are the causes and treatments of outer ear infections.

Don’t neglect your ear care

Outer ear infection is common in the summer, when more people cool off in the sea or in a pool. The outer ear remaining wet, contact with dirty pool water, seawater or foreign bodies, allergy, other skin conditions and chronic diseases like diabetes are the main factors that increase the risk of an outer ear infection.

This is why patients who have previously had an outer ear infection suffer from the same disease again if attention is not paid. Outer ear infection is often caused by bacteria and fungi, while viruses and parasites can rarely be a factor. The chronic condition of the outer ear infection, which often occurs in the form of acute infections, is called “swimmer’s ear,” which is very difficult to treat.

Ways to avoid outer ear infection

The main principle for avoiding outer ear infection is to remove risk factors. The ways of avoiding can be listed as follows:

  • Treat and keep your chronic diseases under control.
  • Do not keep water in ear and do not use ear sticks during shower.
  • Do not swim in dirty and low chlorine pools and in dirty parts of the sea.
  • Use silicone stopper when swimming in order to prevent water from getting into outer ear.
  • Remove the water escaping to the ear after swimming with head movements.
  • You can use a few drops of vinegar to ensure the optimal PH level in the outer ear after swimming.

Outer ear infection includes clinical cases including serious life-threatening infections. For this reason, diagnosis should be made at the earliest stage of complaints and treatment should be started quickly.

Smelly earwax in your ear

The outer ear is a canal shaped, extending from earlap to eardrum, with one end opening outward and the other closed by eardrum. The outer ear is a structure that is susceptible to infections due to being a canal with one end open, poor ventilation and its humid environment. It is possible to list the three main symptoms of outer ear infection as pain, discharge and hearing loss. The pain can be severe and increase when you touch your ear. The discharge is yellow-green and usually smells bad. Hearing loss results from outer ear edema and discharges from outer ear due to infection. The disease can be easily diagnosed by a simple ear examination in the patient with the aforementioned complaints. In diagnosis, it is important to distinguish that the discharge is not from middle ear, but from outer ear. Therefore, a specialist examination is recommended.

After the examination, the specialist doctor will determine the best method of treatment. The outer ear should be thoroughly cleaned during treatment. Local antibiotic drops, cortisone drops and painkillers are used. Since ear drops cannot reach the canal in patients with highly edematous and closed outer ear canal, suppositories should be placed in outer ear for a few days to ensure that the drops reach the canal.

More severe in diabetic patients

Systemic antibiotic use and rarely hospitalization may be required for advanced outer ear infections in people with risk factors, such as diabetes. During treatment, ears should be protected from water and water sports should be suspended. Materials such as hearing aids, headphones and stoppers should not be used during this period as they make the treatment harder.

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Noteworthy women with hearing loss

Since August is Women’s Month, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight well-known women in history who exemplify how to live beyond their hearing loss. So here, in honour of women everywhere, we present you with some extraordinary women with hearing loss:

Juliette Gordon Low

Turns lifelong hearing loss into incredible action

Juliette Gordon Low – Founder of The Girl Scouts of America

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, dealt with severe hearing loss throughout her life. At age 29, a grain of rice thrown at her wedding punctured her eardrum and caused her to go deaf in one ear. However, Juliette never let her hearing loss slow her down, and founded the Girl Scouts in 1912.

As a partially deaf woman herself, Juliette also encouraged the involvement of girls with disabilities, who had always otherwise been excluded from society. Her experiences with hearing loss inspired her to create opportunities for others like her, and create more fulfilling lives for millions of young girls.

Barbra Streisand

Proves tinnitus can’t stop her

Barbra Streisand – Lifelong sufferer of Tinnitus

Barbra Streisand admitted to Barbara Walters in 1985 that she has had tinnitus since age nine. As a child who heard ringing that no one else could hear, and who would put scarves around her head to block the noise, Barbra often felt different and distant from the other children. Barbra described it as “living with a secret” for many years, until she went to a doctor. Barbra, as a lifelong sufferer of tinnitus and incredibly successful artist, serves as a positive role model who refused to allow her hearing issue to take over her life.

Whoopi Goldberg

Embraced her hearing aids and the cause

Whoopi Goldberg – Proud hearing device wearer

Whoopi Goldberg has had a long and illustrious career on both stage and screen, but over the years, her hearing has severely deteriorated. Whoopi has openly declared that she wears hearing aids beneath her trademark dreadlocks, and confesses that years of listening to loud music probably was the cause of her hearing loss.

After personally suffering from hearing loss, Whoopi became involved with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which helps provide free hearing aids to children around the world. Whoopi has used her own history with hearing loss as a platform to advocate for others and to caution those around her against overuse of devices, like mp3 players, that may cause hearing loss.

Georgia Horsley

Shows hearing loss can be beautiful

Georgia Horsley – Miss England 2007

Georgia Horsley was crowned Miss England in 2007 and was always vocal about her struggles with hearing loss. Due to a meningitis infection as a baby, Georgia lost hearing in her right ear. As a child, she was very self-conscious about her hearing loss until the age of 10 when she declared, “I simply decided that I didn’t care

Georgia’s positive attitude has carried her through life and she refuses to dwell on her physical hardships. She has even pointed out the positives of hearing loss – like outstanding hearing in her good ear, and never having trouble sleeping due to noise!

Halle Berry

Uses hearing loss for change

Halle Berry – Domestic violence survivor

As one of today’s most famous actresses, Halle Berry is often in the news for her work or her personal life. Fans may be surprised to learn that she is partially deaf, having lost 80% of her hearing in one ear due to domestic violence.

Halle has since dedicated herself to speaking out against domestic violence and advocating for abuse victims. Halle is not only living with hearing loss, but she is using it as a powerful force for positive change.

These extraordinary women have provided powerful examples of living with and beyond hearing loss. In history and today, women with hearing loss are making incredible strides to use their hearing loss as a positive force for change, and to prove that hearing loss never has to get in the way of living life.

This Women’s Month, love yourself enough to get your hearing checked because prevention is the only option when there really is no cure.

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Can hearing aids cause headaches?

When you have hearing loss, your auditory system and your brain don’t get as much stimulation as they once had when you had normal hearing. Essentially, with a hearing loss, your hearing nerve and your brain are not getting enough exercise. So, when you first get hearing aids, you are basically suddenly asking your brain to work much harder, because you a hearing more signals coming from your daily environments.

If you think about it, if I were to ask you to run a marathon, could you instantly do it? Probably not, unless you were already training for it. It is the same for your brain. When you first get hearing aids, some patients can get a little tired because their body is receiving more stimuli from the environment. Occasionally, patients can also get a headache because their brain is a bit on overdrive, hearing all these sounds again.

If you do feel quite tired and feel like your hearing aid are giving you a headache, try to limit the amount of time you are wearing them, and slowly increasing it. If you need to give yourself a break, by all means, this is okay. Just try to wear your hearing aids little by little, until you can wear them all day. If these symptoms don’t stop though, consult with your Audiologist as typically, these symptoms disappear within about one week.

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Advanced Hearing Ear Exam

An ear exam. What is it and do you need one?

How often do you need to get your ears checked? It’s a question most of us probably don’t think about. But if you find yourself straining to hear during conversations, or you have pain or ringing in your ears, it’s definitely time. It may seem obvious that you need to get your ears checked when there’s a problem. But what about when everything seems fine?

Baseline testing

The last time most adults had their hearing checked was in grade school. If that’s true of you, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Adults should get their hearing tested at least once, ideally after age 21.

Your doctor can do it during your annual physical exam. A baseline test will show you where your hearing is at that point. That way, when you’re older, an audiologist can better understand how much it has changed and give you the right treatment.

If you’re not having hearing loss, you should continue to get tested every 10 years until you turn 50, and every 3 years after that.

Hearing screening

A hearing screening is different from a more comprehensive hearing test. It’s usually a quick test to check to see if you need more screenings. You either pass or fail.

If you pass, it’s likely you don’t have hearing loss. If you fail, you’ll need to see a specialist who will give you a more detailed evaluation. This will help you understand what kind it is, how severe it is, and how it can best be treated.

Babies usually get screenings at birth, and kids get them once in a while through their schools. As an adult, you’ll probably be screened at your doctor’s office.

About 30% of people over age 65 have some type of hearing loss, but younger people can experience it too. About 14% of people between 45 and 64 have it, as do about 8 million people between ages 18 and 44. If you’re concerned about your hearing, call your doctor and ask for a screening.

Potential causes of hearing loss

An ear infection – your doctor may call it “otitis media” – is a common cause of hearing loss. It means the part of your ear inside the eardrum is inflamed. This can happen because of a cold, allergies, or a buildup of pus and mucus from a virus or bacteria.

If fluid stays in your ear for weeks or months and your infection isn’t treated, you can experience temporary hearing loss.

You can also have trouble hearing for other reasons, including:

  • A buildup of earwax
  • Inflammation in your external auditory canal, known as swimmer’s ear
  • An injury to your ear or head
  • A disease called otosclerosis, which affects the tiny bones in your ear
  • A condition called cholesteatoma, which can develop if you have an ongoing ear infection

Signs of infection

Hearing loss is one sign of infection, but it’s not the only one. You might also experience pain in your ear or fluid draining from your ear.

It’s important to see a doctor if:

  • Your pain is severe
  • You have fluid, pus, or blood coming out of your ear
  • Your symptoms last for more than a day

To schedule a hearing check with an Advanced Hearing Professional Audiologist, contact an outlet nearest to you:

Plettenberg Bay | Knysna | Sedgefield | Somerset West

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World Hearing Day 2019

What is it all about?

World Hearing Day is a campaign held each year by Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Activities take place across the globe and an event is hosted at the World Health Organization on March 3rd. The campaign’s objective is to share information and promote actions towards the prevention of hearing loss and improved hearing care.

The first ever event was held in 2007. Before 2016 it was known as International Ear Care Day. Each year, the WHO selects a theme, develops educational materials, and makes these freely available in several languages. It also coordinates and reports on events around the globe.

The theme for 2019

The theme of the campaign for 2019 is “Check your hearing” as data from both developed and developing countries indicate that a significant part of the burden associated with hearing loss comes from unaddressed hearing difficulties.

A study conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that only 20% of those who have a hearing problem seek treatment. A study performed in South Africa reported that individuals who experience hearing difficulties wait between 5 and 16 years to seek diagnosis and treatment.

Wiki4WorldHearingDay2019, an Edit-a-Thon, is part of the 2019 activities of the campaign, to facilitate the contribution of hearing-related content into Wikipedia in several languages. Activities are reported in a Wikimedia dashboard.

This excerpt was taken from the World Health Organisation website.

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