Ear to the Ground
As their renown for high-quality ear care increases, Specsavers’ audiologist Ryan Forbes outlines the innovations in wax removal that are available down at their Paisley branch.
One in six people in the UK are affected by hearing loss,” Ryan explains. “In some cases, it must be treated through the use of hearing instruments but a lot of the time, it can be caused by a wax build-up, so it’s definitely worth getting it checked. Between the point where someone thinks ‘there might be something wrong with my hearing’ to making an appointment, it can take six to eight years.”
For decades, the common misconception was that a wax build-up would have to be rectified by way of getting your ears syringed by a doctor. However, as the Ear Care Director explains, Specsavers now offer a less hazardous and more straightforward alternative.
“Micro suction, which is the method we use, is essentially a mini-hoover and it’s a lot safer. With syringing, you’re using pressurised water in order to backwash the wax. As a result, it basically uses the eardrum as apparatus to bounce off, which isn’t great. GP practices are actually steering away from that, so we’ve gotten busier and busier in our Glasgow Trongate store.”
Available to anyone who’s taken the precaution of using an olive oil spray in order to soften the wax, Ryan is keen to outline the many benefits behind this method: “the process is simple, it’s basically comprised of a small cone, which holds the ear canal open, and a sterile prob. Best of all, it’s non-invasive and people can get in and out in 15 to 20 minutes without any dizzy spells, ringing in their ears or any side effect that’s associated with syringing. A lot of people walk out thinking, ‘woah, this is seriously loud! Which is great as that’s exactly what it’s all about.”
Underpublicised for many years, the audiologist believes a service such as wax removal is more pivotal than ever in our technologically fixated society.
“Everyone that you see walking along, more or less, has headphones in, even at work. So, that means the ears are constantly switched on and can’t rest. As a result, ear care should be a component of the average health check. In the same way that people don’t think twice about getting their eyes tested, we need to remove the stigma around ear care. At Specsavers, we’re not ageist and will offer this service to anyone over 18. Nowadays, the amount of people that are taking us up from that age up to 34 is massive, so it shows that the awareness is increasing.”
With wax removal available from £35 for one ear and £50 for the pair, pop into Specsavers’ Moss Street store in Paisley for more information or call 0141 848 9191. This interview was published in Mill issue 8 November/December 2019.