Interesting Monday! I have learned a lot. Went to my Santa Fe audiologist to get new ear-impressions. I have had my IEMs (In Ear Monitors) since 1994 and since ears continue to grow throughout our lives these don’t seal off sound well enough anymore… therefore I have to get new ear-impressions so that new IEM molds can be made.
My audiologist tells me I have a little wax build-up in my right ear. Not enough to influence my hearing, but enough to make a good ear impression impossible. She sets me up with an appointment at Southwest Ear, Nose and Throat to remove the wax.
Here is where it gets really interesting. A very nice doctor finds wax in both ears and removes it with suction and a microsope, a little loud but not at all uncomfortable. I ask him about the kits one can buy for wax removal. He tells me that they can work in some cases, but that Santa Fe with its dry climate tends to be a little more difficult in that respect. Some of the kits use Hydrogen Peroxide‘s bubbling action to losen the wax… but Hydrogen Peroxide also drys out the skin and the wax and can make it therefore harder to remove the wax. This doctor suggests putting a drop or two of olive oil in your ear every week. It keeps the skin lubricated and also moisturizes the wax which when soft can easily be disposed off by the ear – naturally.
But wait, I learned even more. The doctor asks me whether I have Tinnitus. I tell him that I have a very small amount in my left ear, stemming from a 15% hearing loss probably due to standing to the right of the drummer during my Eighties rockband days… He explains to me that Tinnitus is actually my brain trying to fill in the blank that the ear doesn’t seem to deliver. In other words, let’s say you have hearing damage in the upper register – the brain detects that there are some high frequencies missing and apparently fills in that spectrum with noise. The doctor explains that Tinnitus is a little bit like an amputee feeling an itch in their missing toe or leg… it’s only in the mind/nervous system.
In a few minutes I have to leave to go back to my audiologist to get the ear impressions made. But first let me make these suggestions:
••• Use hearing protection! Buy noise filters, not plugs. This is what you want, especially if you are a musician! They are molded to your ear and reduce the sound across the spectrum – so you don’t lose only the highs! I have used ER 25s for about 10 years and they are great. Very useful on the plane, on the bus, at concerts etc…
••• If you live in a dry climate, lubricate your ears with a weekly drop of oil.
••• Have a doctor remove any wax build-up in your ears. They know what they are doing and with the equipment they have it is fast and painless…
But wait, there is more! OTOSCOPE is an instrument for examining the interior of the ear, consisting essentially of a magnifying lens and a light. HERE is a picture. Oto– or ot- are prefixes for things to do with the ear. Ear: otology. From the Greek ous, ōt-, ear. So, doesn’t that mean that OTO means SOUND in Japanese and EAR in Greek. Interesting, yes? Hey, OTOSCOPE would be a great name for a band or a studio, meaning EarScope OR SoundScope… Feel free to use it as I will stick with OTO-MARE. Back for more ear fun!!!