What Questions Would You Ask A Hearing Professional

A while back we asked our Facebook fans to send us any questions they would want to ask their hearing professional. We gathered all your responses and then had our own hearing professionals at Starkey take a crack at providing some answers. See below for the top three fan questions and answers from our own audiologist Carolyn Pinkerton. 


What is the safest way to protect your hearing during music festivals?

There are a number of different ways to protect your hearing during concerts and music festivals.  Depending on your needs and budget, you can invest in something as simple and inexpensive as non-custom earplugs, typically made of foam or a similar material.  More customized options offer greater comfort and more flexibility in terms of how filtered you’d like the sound to be. 

Custom earplugs provide the comfort of a product made specifically for your ear and the ability to select a level of filtration that provides protection while maintaining the sound quality you desire. Depending on the environment, earmuffs or electronic devices such as SoundGear can be great options as well!


What is the best way to clean your ears?

Believe it or not, Q-tips are not meant to go in your ears!  A general rule of thumb is: if it’s smaller than your fist, don’t put it in your ear. Using Q-tips can be quite dangerous as they can lead  to rupturing the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and can actually encourage wax build up. By pushing wax further into the eardrum, Q-tips compact the wax so that it can no longer make its way out naturally.  

The ear canal has two portions: the more outer one that lines the cartilaginous portion of your outer ear and the inner portion that leads into the boney portion of your outer ear. 

Wax exists naturally in the cartilaginous part of your canal.  Using a swab often pushes that wax into the boney portion, where the canal skin does not naturally help migrate the wax out.  If you do have excess wax build up, letting water run in and out of your ears during a shower can provide a little cleansing and some relief.  If the build up is very excessive or if the wax becomes dyer or hardened, regular cleanings by a healthcare professional may be scheduled.

For tips on how to clean your ears properly read our blog, “How to Clean and Care for Your Ears.”


What are good tricks or programs for the car? It seems so hard to hear the radio, kids talking, husband talking and the road noise. I tend to just check out.

Background noise is a big issue for those with hearing loss.  Even those with normal hearing can find the car to be a difficult listening environment.  The first step is to eliminate the sources of noise that you can control (radio, toys, etc).  If you are a hearing aid user, there are a number of wireless accessories that can act as remote microphones to help overcome issues with both distance from the desired sound source or speaker as well as background noise.  In fact, many hearing devices have environmental programming options that can be customized for listening in the car. 


Have a question you want to ask a hearing professional? Comment below with your question and an email, and we will get an answer to you soon!

By Sarah Bricker