BLOG - Hearing Care during a pandemic - an expert's perspective

As well as our virtual eye care services, 20 20 are continuing to provide Hearing Care support to patients experiencing a range of issues with their Hearing Health. If you are experiencing any such issue, we are here for you, and you can book a telephone appointment with one of our experts. Speaking to Lewis from our Audiology department, we’ve put together some key advice on how you can look after your hearing care, and how we’re here for you if you have concerns.

How we’re looking after patients’ hearing

As always, the best way to look after your hearing care at the moment is to follow the advice of an expert. We’ve been getting a lot of calls from patients experiencing sudden hearing loss or pain – for which you should always seek professional advice that can often make a huge difference.

In order to ease pressure on the NHS and understand what is causing your issue, our audiologists are available to discuss your problem with you and help to treat it. We’ve been working closely with GPs and other health care providers to offer effective hearing care to any patient, regardless of whether or not you are a 20 20 patient.

Through telephone calls, video calls and email, we’re providing patients with a qualified ear and expert advice to put them at ease. It’s actually extremely straightforward to book a conversation with our audiologist if you have concerns, and it’s our priority to ensure our patients know that we are here for you and your hearing care.

How do you know if you should seek Hearing Care advice?

Even in “normal” times, without the monotony of lockdown, hearing loss can creep up gradually, without you realising it at first. Some sounds remain audible while others become softer and harder to hear. As a result, communication becomes increasingly challenging and requires more effort. It is the higher pitched sounds that are hardest to hear and understand. Softer, high-pitched consonants like "s", "f", "sh" and "t" play a key role in our ability to understand speech clearly. This is why people with a hearing loss often say "I can hear, but I don't understand what's being said."

Wax build-up

A common cause of sudden hearing loss is a build-up of wax. This is very treatable, but the sudden loss of hearing can take you by surprise.

The production of earwax is your ears’ way of being self-cleaning – normally earwax will make its way out of the ear entirely on its own. Often, people use cotton buds to remove any built-up earwax, but this is actually more likely to lead to an earwax blockage and further issues.

However if you are experiencing the following symptoms, it is worth contacting us: sudden hearing loss, ear feeling full and uncomfortable, earache, or tinnitus.

While we cannot currently carry out ear wax removal, we can offer professional advice. Our qualified audiologists recommend Sodium Bicarbonate ear wax drops, which soften the wax and slowly dissolve it, reducing the need for removal.

Problems with your hearing aid?

If your hearing aid isn’t working as it should, first check that you’ve changed the wax guard/battery. If you need to order batteries, domes or wax guards, just email or call your nearest branch – we’ll take payment over the phone and post them out to you. If your aid is still not working, please email hearing@2020opticians.com with the details.

While we’re not currently able to carry out face to face consultations, we are still able to service your hearing aid, and you can book a telephone appointment to discuss the problems you’re experiencing. Lewis from our audiology department has been working out of our Audiology clinic in Aberdeen, where he has been able to service, replace and fine tune patients’ hearing aids, so that our patients can continue to hear effectively during lockdown.

The sophisticated technology we offer allows us to make these repairs and adjustments remotely, as we can use your prescription and feedback to tailor your device to you. If necessary, we are also able to send your aid to the manufacturer, who will rectify the issue and send it directly back to you. You will be notified at every stage of this process.

No matter how small, if you’re experiencing issues with your hearing device, call your nearest branch or email hearing@2020opticians.com.

How can I book an appointment?

Booking an appointment is really easy. Just go to https://2020opticians.mysight.uk/Patient/Appointment and select our remote branch, then choose to book a telephone hearing care appointment. Alternatively, call your nearest branch and select our audiology option (number 4), which will take you directly to our dedicated audiology line.