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Audiologist Emma Beedell shared her expert tips on how to look after, and find someone to look after your hearing.



Speaking on the eHealth radio network, Sydney-based audiologist Emma Beedell spoke to host Eric Michaels about what it is people tend to misunderstand about their hearing, and what it’s like to be an audiologist.

Emma graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Speech and Hearing sciences, and a Master of Clinical Audiology. Having originally had a desire to do speech pathology, Emma wound up studying speech and hearing science. “You don’t hear about what that is too often,” she said. “It started to intrigue me, and the more I learnt about it, the more valuable it seemed as a profession.”

Acute hearing audiologists are practitioners in a very specific field, and Emma is someone whose advice and expertise is sought out for very specific reasons. “We see a lot of different types of patients in the clinic, from children with ear infections and speech issues, to adults with sudden hearing loss, or something that has onset quite gradually.”

Emma said that her practice doesn’t only test hearing, but also custom-make earplugs, and can customise hearing aids as well.

“Many people think that hearing aids come ready-to-go in a box; but they do require expertise in programming and personalising the device to the client. Those are the kinds of services we offer. It’s about counselling and having them get the help they need.”

There are a lot of myths out there surrounding home remedies and store-bought remedies for many medical ailments and lesser irritants; in Emma’s field, there are plenty of misconceptions out there about ear wax, and specifically the “best” ways of removing it.

Emma is here to refute those myths.

“People think cotton buds are the answer,” she says, “that sticking cotton buds in their ears is going to clear away the wax. But what often happens is that it just pushes the wax further down the ear to the point where it builds up and is really hard to remove.

“Another is ‘ear candling’, which is quite popular, but hasn’t proved to be very effective. So, from our perspective, the best advice is to get your ears suctioned by your GP. It’s the most effective and the safest way.”

“There are often a lot of fixes, and we may not realise that we have an issue that can be resolved. The results are instant. You know straight away where you’re at and you can make plans from there.”

Host Eric Michaels asked Emma about the importance of hearing tests, and why it is important for people to have their hearing tested on a regular basis.

“Tests are important because hearing is important,” Emma said. “Sometimes we don’t realise how valuable it is until something happens to us. And that’s usually one of the only times people come into the hearing clinic.

“For children, it’s important for them to hear well so they can properly develop their speech and language so they might do well academically at school.

“Most Australian children have a hearing test at birth, and then we seldom see them after that point. But ear infections are really common in children, so we recommend regular hearing tests, especially before they start school so that there are no issues.”

For adults, according to Emma, it’s not as age-dependent. “There is no magical number,” she said. “But if you haven’t had a hearing test in ten years you should definitely have one.

“As we get older, we’re unfortunately more likely to suffer hearing loss. So it’s a good idea to have a quick check-up every two to three years. It’s very simple.”

Emma’s advice to listeners to ensure they didn’t neglect their hearing in 2019 was fairly straight-forward.

“Don’t put it off. If you’ve never had a hearing test before, or even if you have just a little concern, go and have it tested. It really doesn’t hurt to have a check-up and ensure that your hearing is the best it can be.

“Hearing tests are really simple, even for kids. They’re literally playing a game. It doesn’t hurt, it’s not a complex task.

“There are often a lot of fixes, and we may not realise that we have an issue that can be resolved. The results are instant. You know straight away where you’re at and you can make plans from there.”

Based out of Sydney, Emma is part of the group Collective Care, which can be found online at www.collective.care.

To hear the full interview, download the podcast here.