Our audiologists visit a selection of different clinics through the week, helping patients with everything from free hearing tests and ear wax removal to tinnitus consultations. Anna Pugh talks through her day in Wardale Williams, Sudbury, as a hearing care professional.
09:00 – Clinic room preparation and scheduling
Every day begins with setting up all the equipment required for the day’s appointments, which includes calibrating and checking that everything is working well. The noise level in the room is also measured and logged as the rooms are generally used for eye tests and not hearing tests, which can impact results. Once the room is soundproof-ready, we are good to go!
09:30 – Wax removal
My first patient is a young man who works in a very busy motorbike repair garage, so his ears are coping with lots of noise, grease and general dirt. We offer both micro-suction and water irrigation wax removal, which resolves most earwax problems.
Removing earwax is a quick and painless process, and we always examine the ear canals before and afterwards to ensure all is well and healthy. However, it’s also clear that he needs to protect and conserve his hearing, so after irrigation I made impressions of his ear canals to manufacture custom-made hearing protection. Recommending that he comes back regularly for a free hearing assessment, it’s great first steps to making the most out of his hearing for longer.
10:15 – Free hearing test
My next appointment is with an existing patient who had received an invitation for a free hearing test. She has never had a hearing assessment before, and doesn’t think she has a hearing loss as she isn’t having any difficulties. However, she does have diabetes, so regular check-ups of her eyesight and hearing is always advisable.
I use a video otoscope to examine her ear canals and ear drum on the screen – it’s the first time she’s ever seen inside her ears! A brief screening audiogram shows us that, today, her hearing is just within normal levels, so we agree to see her again in a year’s time to monitor her hearing for any changes. With regular check-ups, we can catch any hearing loss early which prevents further deterioration.
11:00 – Full hearing assessment
My next patient has had his hearing tested in the past, but decided he didn’t want to have hearing aids. His wife has now said he must do something about it, as they are having increased difficulty holding conversations due to his hearing loss. His wife mentions that she is worried whether he is mishearing or it’s the beginning of dementia, as the symptoms can be very similar for both.
We talk about the difficulties the couple are having, and how hearing loss can impact on everything in life. We also talk about how hearing loss can sometimes be mistaken for the early signs of dementia. The full assessment takes an hour and a half, giving us plenty of time to understand the issues he is facing, getting a full picture of his hearing loss. We also demonstrated the benefits of some hearing aids and, using the computer speakers, created a virtual café with lots of background noise, so he could test how well he could hear his wife in very noisy places. He decided to trial some hearing aids, and I think he will do really well once he’s learned to hear again.
13:00 – Lunchtime!
And so I can now go through my emails, grab a sandwich and a chat with the lovely optical team.
14:00 – Follow-up appointment
This patient has tinnitus which has been quite distressing for many years. She has been a patient at the opticians for decades, and decided to give their new hearing clinic a go!
I fitted her with some hearing aids a month ago to help with her hearing loss and manage her tinnitus. This was her first follow-up appointment, so we reviewed how the hearing aid can work for her, and went through cleaning the aids, just to make sure she was happy. She is sleeping much better and, being rested, is coping much better with everything. Her daughter says she can hear on the telephone now too. All in all, a very successful appointment, so much so that she has recommended her sister to come and get her hearing tested too!
15:30 – Full hearing assessment
My last appointment today is a for a free full hearing assessment. My patient was very tech-savvy and had read about the latest technology, so really kept me on my toes about connecting hearing aids to smartphones and iPads. He had already researched the aids he wanted, the Oticon Opn 2. I had a demo pair available, allowing him to hear through them and experience how easily they connected to his phone. The only thing he hesitated about was which colour to choose!
So now it’s the end of the day and I’m doing my paperwork, ordering hearing aids, and packing up all my equipment away for tomorrow’s clinic.
If you’d like to know more about any of the services mentioned, Anna and the audiology team would be more than happy to help. You can book an appointment online or contact your nearest store.