FAQ

Questions:

  1. What is micro-suction?
  2. Why don’t they syringe ears anymore?
  3. What should I do if my hearing changes suddenly?
  4. Do I need an ear check?
  5. Do I need a hearing test?
  6. Do I need a Doctors referral?
  7. Will it hurt?
  8. How much does it cost? How can I pay…
  9. How long will it take?
  10. Can I see into my child’s ear?
  11. How do I keep my ears healthy?
  12. I am on eardrops from my doctor for an infection – when should I see TOLBECS?
  13. Will an iPOD player damage my ears?
  14. Why are my ears itchy?
  15. My child failed a test at kindy – what does that mean?
  16. How can TOLBECS help a child with Glue Ear or grommets?
  17. Can you help anyone with Tinnitus?
  18. Do Ear Candles work?
  19. Will parking be easy?
  20. Where can I find TOLBECS Hamilton?

Answers:

What is micro-suction?

The gentle, safe modern technique used for clearing ear canals

Micro = using a surgical microscope to gain a safe magnified view

Suction = a tiny vacuum cleaner used to clear wax and debris from the ear canal

Skill = only see a properly trained Ear Expert

Why don’t they syringe ears anymore?

Syringing is carried out by squirting water into the ear canal without any clear vision. The desired result is that the water will go behind the wax and force it out of the ear canal.

The risks of this procedure include:

  • direct injury to the ear canal walls (if hit by the syringe tip)
  • wax/debris forced against the ear drum
  • perforation of the eardrum
  • infection of the ear canal
  • unsuccessful clearance of the ear canal

Ear syringing is no longer considered best practice.

What should I do if my hearing changes suddenly?

If a SUDDEN change in hearing is experienced, see a TOLBECS Ear Nuse or a Doctor IMMEDIATELY, with the same urgency as if you became suddenly blind. The cause of the hearing loss may be something simple (such as wax) or it may be a condition that requires immediate treatment to minimise the risk of permanent hearing loss. The length of time it takes to begin treatment is very important. TOLBECS Nurses identify which condition is causing the hearing loss and then recommend the next course of action.

Do I need an ear check?

A regular TOLBECS consultation will ensure that your ears are as healthy as they can possibly be.  We recommend 1-2 yearly checks. We see anyone who is having trouble with waxy, itchy, blocked, noisy, infected, glue, deaf or full ears. If you have an ongoing ear condition or have had ear problems in the past it is sensible to have your ears checked regularly.

People who have waxy ears may benefit from having their ear canals cleared to prevent problems with water or altitude – before holidays, summer, flying or diving.

Those who put anything into their ears – hearing aids, ear plugs, cotton buds, fingers etc – should get their ears checked every 6 months.

Anyone who develops Tinnitus (see below) should have an ear consultation.

Do I need a hearing test?

At TOLBECS we can test the hearing of anyone over 4 years of age.  We carry out the same screening test that is performed in all NZ schools and workplaces.  We suggest that anyone who thinks they aren’t hearing normally comes for a consultation.  Workers in noisy workplaces need to have their hearing tested every year.

Do I need a Doctors referral?

No. Just phone and make an appointment.

Will it hurt?

No. We use a surgical microscope to give a magnified view  of the ear canal and ear drum.  This allows us to safely and gently clear wax/debris with tiny instruments and/or suction.  We explain all steps as we go so there are no surprises and you can say ‘stop’ at any time.

How much does it cost? How can I pay…

Please phone us today for our current fee.  Our fee is similar to an unsubsidised GP’s visit. Full payment is expected at the time of appointment.  We accept payments of cash, cheques, EFTPOS, MasterCard and Bankcard.

How long will it take?

10 to 30 minutes.

Can I see into my child’s ear?

YES. Our Nurses can set the microscope so you are able to view your child’s ear.  Parents find it very useful to see first-hand exactly what the Nurse is explaining.

How do I keep my ears healthy?

Ears are best when they are left alone – do not put anything into them. This includes trying to clean them with cotton buds and other objects or trying to wash them out with water.

If you become aware of your ears for any reason (moistness, itchiness, loss of hearing, discharge etc)  we recommend that you come in for a consultation.

Avoid loud noise, this kills hearing cells which do not grow back.  Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs or muffs around any loud noise.  Listen to music at a sensible volume.

If you cannot ‘pop’ your ears it is wise to attend for an ear consultation before you dive or fly – too much pressure can cause inner ear damage and hearing loss.

I am on eardrops from my doctor for an infection – when should I see TOLBECS?

It is best if the infected debris is cleared from your ear canal as early as possible; this allows the drops to work faster. We will take a sample for your doctor to send to the laboratory to identify exactly which organism is infecting the ear canal.

Will an iPOD player damage my ears?

Damage depends on the level of noise and the length of time you are exposed to it.  Earbuds are placed directly into the ear which means they are a lot closer to the ear drum than other sound sources.  We recommend you use the 60 percent/60 minutes rule – limit use to 60 minutes each day with the volume no louder than 60%, and use the old fashioned larger ear phones that rest over the whole ear opening.

Why are my ears itchy?

Often ears will itch when there is something in there, perhaps a lump of wax tickling the tiny hairs at the outside of the ear canal.  Infections and allergies can also cause an itch. If your ears are itchy for more than a few days make an appointment for an ear consultation.

My child failed a test at kindy – what does that mean?

Children’s ears are screened at preschool centres with a Tympanometer; a quick way to test the function of the ear. It does NOT test the hearing. If the result shows something wrong your child should have an ear consultation.

How can TOLBECS help a child with Glue Ear or grommets?

We use our microscope to view the ear drum. We assess the current condition and are able to show parents exactly what is happening and then talk about the things that they can do to help their child.

Can you help anyone with Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes hearing of sound not originating from an outside source. It may be a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, clicking or humming, often accompanying a hearing loss. At TOLBECS we assess your ears and hearing. We discuss your experience of Tinnitus and help you decide what is the next best step to take.

Do Ear Candles work?

We have not read any study that confirms that ear candles remove wax, infection and other debris from ear canals.  A USA Clinical Trial found: no wax was removed, ear candling produced no vacuum, candle wax was deposited in some ears and some people experienced burns.

We have seen crystal like deposits set on ear drums after candle use and have been able to clear ear canals easily where candles have not been successful. Micro-suction is the only accurate, safe, gentle, comfortable modern method for cleaning ear canals. TOLBECS does not recommend the use of ear candles.

Will parking be easy?

YES. We have 5 carparks on site, a loading zone and a disability car park at the front.

Where can I find TOLBECS Hamilton?

We are located at 74 Naylor St in Hamilton East, close to the Galloway Street traffic light intersection. The Hillcrest No 10 bus stops close to the clinic.