FAQ

Questions:

  1. When do I need to book an appointment with an Ear Nurse?
  2. How much does it cost & how can I pay?
  3. How long will it take?
  4. Do I need a Doctors referral?
  5. Where can I find TOLBECS?
  6. Will parking be easy?
  7. Will access be easy?
  8. What is micro-suction?
  9. Will it hurt?
  10. Do I need to soften the wax before my appointment?
  11. I am on eardrops from my doctor for an infection – when should I see TOLBECS?
  12. Do I need a hearing test?
  13. What should I do if my hearing suddenly changes?
  14. Why are my ears itchy?
  15. Can TOLBECS help anyone with tinnitus?
  16. How can TOLBECS help a child with glue ear or grommets?
  17. Can I see into my child’s ear?
  18. My Child Failed A Test At Pre-School – What Does That Mean?
  19. Will loud music through headphones or earbuds/pods damage my ears?
  20. How do I keep my ears healthy?
  21. Do ear candles work?
  22. Why syringing is not recommended

Answers:

When do I need to book an appointment with an Ear Nurse?

Regular TOLBECS consultations will ensure that your ears are as healthy as they can possibly be. 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/pods, cotton buds, fingers etc – should get their ears checked every 6 months.

How much does it cost & how can I pay?

Please phone us for our current fee. Full payment is expected on arrival. We accept payments of cash, EFTPOS and Credit Card and have PayWave available.

How long will it take?

Approximately 20 minutes.

Do I need a Doctors referral?

No. Just phone us on 0800 TOLBECS to make an appointment.

Where can I find TOLBECS?

We are located at 74 Naylor St in Hamilton East, close to the Galloway St traffic light intersection. The bus stops close to the clinic.

Will parking be easy?

Yes. We have carparks available on site, a loading zone and a disability car park located at the front of the building.

Will access be easy?

We have a disability carpark located at the front of the building, a ramp that leads to the front door and a wheelchair that is available for client’s use during their visit. All clinics have room to transfer from a wheelchair and to operate a hoist.

What is micro-suction?

A gentle, safe and modern technique used for clearing ear canals.

Micro = using a high intensity microscope to gain an extremely magnified view

Suction = a small vacuum unit and/or micro-instruments used to safely clear wax and debris from the ear canal

Will it hurt?

Microsuction is gentle, comfortable and safe. 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 micro instruments and/or suction. We explain all steps as we go so there are no surprises and you can say ‘stop’ at any time.

Do I need to soften the wax before my appointment?

No. TOLBECS uses microsuction; you do not need to use any wax softening products or oil before your appointment.

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 may take a sample for your doctor to send to the laboratory to identify exactly which organism is infecting the ear canal.

Do I need a hearing test?

At TOLBECS we can do a screening hearing test for anyone over the age of 4 years. 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 to book in for a consultation. Workers in noisy workplaces need to have their hearing tested every year.

What should I do if my hearing suddenly changes?

If a SUDDEN change in hearing is experienced, see a TOLBECS Ear Nurse Therapist or a Doctor IMMEDIATELY. 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.

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 to see an ear nurse.

Can TOLBECS 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.

How can TOLBECS help a child with glue ear or grommets?

We use our microscope to view the ear drum and look into the middle ear. Parents/caregivers are able to see exactly what we see on the screen in clinic including grommets and/or any fluid or infection behind the ear drum. We explain the current condition and then talk about the things that they can do to help their child.

Can I see into my child’s ear?

Yes. Our clinic microscopes all have viewing screens so you are able to see your child’s ear.  Parents/caregivers find it very useful to see first-hand exactly what the nurse is explaining.

My Child Failed A Test At Pre-School – 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 appointment for an ear consultation.

Will loud music through headphones or earbuds/pods damage my ears?

Damage depends on the level of noise and the length of time you are exposed to it. We recommend you use the 60/60 rule – limit use to 60 minutes each day with the volume no louder than 60%.

Earbuds are placed directly into the ear which means they are a lot closer to the ear drum than other sound sources.  TOLBECS recommends the use of headphones that rest over the whole ear and opening.

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

Avoid loud noise as 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.

For more information view our page on Ear Care.

Do ear candles work?

No. TOLBECS does not recommend the use of ear candles. Micro-suction is the only accurate, safe, gentle, comfortable, modern method for cleaning ear canals.

Why syringing is not recommended

Syringing is carried out by squirting water into the ear canal without any 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
  • wax/debris forced against the ear drum
  • perforation of the eardrum
  • infection of the ear canal
  • unsuccessful clearance of the ear canal

Microsuction is considered best practice.