For Patients

Information for patients

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Below are some resources regarding common conditions and questions about hearing.

Visiting an audiologist can be a completely new experience for people, but it’s totally worth it in the long run. An audiologist is a specialised healthcare professional who has an in-depth knowledge of the ear and hearing health. When you reach out to an audiologist, you can expect to receive a comprehensive hearing assessment that will identify any hearing issues you may have. This might include a range of tests, including a physical examination of your ears, and an audiogram – a hearing test that measures your hearing ability.

Some of the most common conditions

The sensation of a blockage in the ears can be irritating and sometimes painful. This can be due to a range of causes including infections, impacted wax, pressure imbalances or growths within the ear itself. Often, the main cause of blockage sensations is from wax build-up.

Investigation by your doctor to determine the extent of the blockage is recommended and to find out whether further investigation by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is warranted or not.

The auditory system is extraordinary and allows us to connect with those around us. But how do our ears even work? Sound travels as a wave through the air before it is directed into our ear and vibrates our eardrum (tympanic membrane). As our eardrum moves backwards and forwards, this energy is directed through the bones of the middle ear into the cochlea. Within the snail shell shaped cochlea are tiny hair cell receptors which get stimulated and send signals up to the brain to be interpreted as sound.

A hearing loss can occur when a problem develops in one or more areas along the auditory pathways and can be either classed as a temporary or permanent loss. For further investigation into your hearing levels, feel free to contact the clinic to arrange a full diagnostic hearing assessment with one of our audiologists. 

​Wax (or cerumen) is naturally secreted from glans in the ear canal and are critical in protecting the inner portions of the ear from bacteria, dirt and fungus. Not only does it stop foreign objects from moving further down the ear canal, but it also moisturises and protects the skin in the ear.
Our ears are naturally “self cleaning” and the amount produced varies from person to person. Cotton tips and ear candles are NEVER recommended as they can lead to further damage and problems within the ear.
Should you experience symptoms of excessive wax build-up, further investigation may be warranted by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

The sensation of a blocked ear is a very common reason patients present to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Just about everybody experiences this at some point in their lifetime. When the feeling persists it can become distracting, painful or interfere with hearing.

The list of causes of a blocked ear is very extensive. One way to categorise these is to divide them into problems in the ear canal, the ear drum, the middle ear and Eustachian tube and the inner ear. All the problems described below can cause a feeling of a blocked ear.

Ear canal

The ear canal can become blocked with things like wax, dry skin, infected material (bacterial or fungal), a foreign body (eg a broken off cotton bud or an insect) or occasionally by a cyst, polyp or tumour. Surfers and swimmers can develop growths of bone called “exostoses” which gradually close over the ear canal with prolonged cold water and wind exposure.

Ear drum

The ear drum itself can become swollen from an infection on either side of it (in the middle ear or ear canal), a condition called myringitis. Pressure changes (flying, scuba diving), trauma or infections can all cause a hole (perforation) in the ear drum. More typically the ear drum is affected secondarily by problems in the middle ear.

Middle ear and Eustachian tube

The middle ear is an air filled space behind the tympanic membrane. It connects with the back of the nose via a tube called the Eustachian tube (auditory tube). It is common for viruses and bacteria which one contracts from the air via breathing to spread via the Eustachian tube up into the ear. This is called a middle ear infection and is very common in children although adults can also be affected.

The middle ear can occasionally be occupied by chronic infections, tumours or a condition called a cholesteatoma (trapped skin cells).
The Eustachian tube can cause a feeling of blocked ear either when it is blocked or too open (patulous). The Eustachian tube is lined by the same lining as the inside of the nose. This makes is susceptible to any process causing a blocked nose. These causes include hay fever (allergic rhinitis), infections, irritants and chemical (non-allergic rhinitis) and sinus infections.

A Eustachian tube which is permanently too open (patulous) can also cause a feeling of blockage in the ear. Causes of a patulous Eustachian tube include weight loss, pregnancy, medications (eg diuretics), fatigue, stress, temporomandibular joint problems and exercise.

Inner ear

The inner ear can cause a blocked ear when it becomes swollen or injured. The causes for this include infections, vascular problems, a disease called Meniere’s disease and occasionally tumours. A syndrome called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” refers to the sudden loss of hearing and function in the inner ear. Urgent treatment for this is required.


The first step in the investigation of a blocked ear is a careful assessment by an ear, nose and throat specialist. A hearing test (audiogram) and possible further investigations such as an MRI or CT scan may be arranged.


Once the cause for the blocked ear has been identified, treatment can be commenced. Treatment options include a range of medications, possible injections and sometimes surgery or radiation treatment. Often no active treatment is required apart from patience to allow the condition to resolve spontaneously by the body’s natural healing mechanisms. A persistent feeling of a blocked ear should always be assessed so that sinister causes can be ruled out and appropriate treatment commenced if needed.

The ear canal can become blocked with things like wax, dry skin, infected material (bacterial or fungal), a foreign body (eg a broken off cotton bud or an insect) or occasionally by a cyst, polyp or tumour. Surfers and swimmers can develop growths of bone called “exostoses” which gradually close over the ear canal with prolonged cold water and wind exposure.

Patient Resources

There are several reasons why hearing loss may occur. It can be due to injury, disease/genetic disorders, or simply aging. Hearing loss is something that can build up over a period of time, gradually progressing into complete deafness.

Do you suspect that you have hearing loss? Well, even if you do, there is no way to come to a definite conclusion until you get yourself checked by a doctor.

But, before you do that, make sure you’re experiencing the following symptoms because, if you’re not, you may not really have a problem.

Common Symptoms to Look For
Find yourself asking people to repeat things? If yes, it could indicate an early sign of hearing loss. Similarly, you might also have trouble following conversations, especially if it involves more than two to three people. Now, all this can occur even if you’re just someone who has problems paying attention, but it’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Apart from these issues, some of the other signs of possible hearing loss include:

• Difficulty hearing while conversing.
• Ringing in the ears.
• Difficulty hearing in noisy areas such as the street, restaurants, malls, or any location with large crowds.
• Perception of other people’s voices sounding muffled.
• Responding with vague or irrelevant statements to questions/discussions.
• Focusing on people’s lips and facial expressions to understand what they are saying.

What we’ve discussed so far only covers the symptoms that are relevant to social situations. There are other categories of symptoms for hearing loss that need to be considered as well.

To begin, we have emotional symptoms such as feeling stressed or anxious when having to strain yourself to hear things correctly. Do you get annoyed when you can’t hear someone and have to ask them to repeat themselves? Do you become nervous when you’re in a situation that entails listening and understanding and find yourself avoiding them as much as you can?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it might be a good idea to get yourself checked.

Emotional symptoms apart, there are medical factors that need to be considered as well. For instance, a history of hearing loss in the family does indicate the possibility of hearing loss in future generations. So, if there have been cases of hearing loss in your family, it might be a good idea to visit a doctor.

Other than genetic factors, certain medications can also end up harming hearing functions. For instance, ototoxic drugs have been known to cause hearing loss as a side effect.

Pre-existing medical conditions have also been known to cause hearing loss. This includes conditions related to thyroid production, the heart, circulation, and glucose levels (diabetes). Finally, even repeated exposure to loud noises or one-time exposure to explosive noise can cause hearing loss.

Treating Hearing Loss
The exact treatment for your hearing loss problem depends on the level of hearing loss you have and the cause behind it. There are multiple treatments and your doctor is the only person who can suggest what’s best for you.

Contact Our Office
Treating hearing loss problems early can help avoid serious complications down the line. If you’re interested in learning more about the treatments available to you, contact our office to schedule your initial consultation. 

A perforated eardrum can be a painful experience if not treated properly in time as advised by a trained professional. It is known more commonly in the medical profession as a tympanic membrane perforation. It is characterized by a tear in the thin tissue separating your ear canal from the eardrum or middle ear.

This can result in hearing loss. If your eardrum is perforated, the middle ear is susceptible to various infections or injuries that could become incurable.
Luckily, perforated eardrums take a few weeks to heal without treatment. In certain cases, ruptured eardrums need surgical repair to return to 100% function.

What Causes a Perforated Eardrum?
Perforated eardrums are commonly caused by:

  • Otitis media or middle ear infection – a build-up of fluid that increases pressure on the middle ear causing the eardrum to tear.
  • A hard blow to the head or ear such as from sports injuries.
  • Sudden loud noises like deafening explosions.
  • Rapid air pressure changes inside the ear arising from scuba diving or air travel.
  • Injury from objects forced into your ears like earbuds.

Perforated Eardrum Symptoms to Look For
A few signs and symptoms of ruptured eardrums are:

  • Pain in the ears
  • Clear pus drainage from the ear
  • Loss of hearing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Vertigo or a spinning sensation
  • Ringing in the ear or tinnitus

Who is at Risk?
Since eardrum perforation occurs from middle ear infection, people vulnerable to middle ear infections are also at risk of developing this condition. The ones most likely to fall victim to eardrum perforation usually include young adults and children who have had middle ear infections at least once during infancy. In Australia, such cases occur a lot amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait.

What Can I Do to Avoid a Perforated Eardrum?
There are several things that you can do to avoid having a perforated eardrum. You should make sure to protect your ears during flights. If you have a cold or an allergy that causes ear congestion, it is perhaps best not to fly.

If you do not have much of a choice, make sure you keep your ears clear during take off and landing. This can be done by yawning, chewing gum, or through pressure-equalizing earplugs. You can also try the Valsalva maneuver – gently blow while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth shut.

You should also protect yourself from foreign objects and keep things from going too deep into your ears, especially when using things like q tips when you’re cleaning out your ears.

Middle ear infections should be treated quickly. Stay alert for signs and symptoms of middle ear infection, which include reduced hearing, nasal congestion, ear aches and fevers. Children who have middle ear infections usually rub or pull their ears. Seek medical advice from your doctor to avoid potential damage to their eardrums.

Make sure to guard against loud noises. You should wear earmuffs or earplugs to protect your ears from damage at the workplace or during outdoor activities if you know there will be loud noises nearby.

​So while you may be an easy target for perforated eardrums, there are simple steps (and remedies) out there that could save you from long-term damage.

Perforated eardrums might occur in many different people at any point in time. The level of perforation – the crack or hole might depend on the actual cause and based on that, the suitable method of correction would be chosen. Myringoplasty has been found to be an effective way to address the problem of perforated eardrums.

Perforated eardrums can easily become severe and result in intense pain and discomfort. There are many warning signs to look out for as possible indicators of a problem associated with perforated eardrum. In most cases, there might be an injury that leads to perforated eardrums and in others, the cause might be an infection. When the eardrum is damaged, this might leave the inner ear canal exposed to outside pollutants and thus increases the possibility of further infections.

Myringoplasty as the Perfect Answer

A perforated eardrum might lead to hearing issues. There are milder cases as well which are known to resolve by themselves. The doctor would identify the severity of the condition and prescribe the right treatment plan.

For those cases where immediate correction is required, a Myringoplasty might be recommended. The surgery is done mostly for those cases where the hole
caused by the infection is large enough to cause secondary infections.

Understanding the Procedure

There are various ways in which the surgery is performed and the overlay and underlay techniques are the most common. Both involve giving the patient general anesthesia. For rare cases where the problem is benign, a local anesthetic might be given.

The surgery also requires a graft of the patient’s skin in order to fill up the damaged area in the eardrum. The graft would then be processed in order to prepare it to be planted in the area being corrected.

The names underlay and overlay indicate the placement of the graft on the eardrum. In the underlay method the graft is placed on the inner surface and in the overlay method, the graft would simply be placed on the outside of the eardrum. The size of the incision and the position varies based on the chosen technique.

The real benefit of getting myringoplasty done is the reduction of ear infections. That is applicable for those patients who have persistent events of eardrum infections and damage leading to the infections in the inner ear which might even be accompanied by the discharge of fluid from the ears.

The surgery has become quite common now and the success rate has drastically increased. With the advancements in healthcare technology, correcting perforated ears is a safe and reliable treatment. After the treatment is completed, you will be given a few instructions to follow to ensure optimal health. Following this instructions will help improve your rate of recovery and your overall results.

Placing the graft in the designated area is essential for providing support. The graft will stay in place and slowly grow to naturally fill up the void caused by the infections or injuries. Given that the patient’s own tissues are used, there is little to no risk of the graft being rejected.

Contact Our Office to learn more about the Myringoplasty surgery.

A great deal of people suffer from a condition known as tinnitus. This condition can cause a person to hear a hissing, buzzing, ringing, or any other sound in one or both of their ears, even when there is no sound being produced externally.

Tinnitus can be a terrible ailment to suffer from and deal with on a daily basis, but luckily there have been many advances in the field of tinnitus treatments and research. There are many new kinds of therapies and treatments available to help treat tinnitus effectively and give those who suffer from it, the relief they deserve.

What Is TRT Treatment And How Does It Help In Curing Tinnitus?

TRT stands for tinnitus retraining therapy and helps the patient cope with his tinnitus on two levels – a conscious and subconscious level. It has helped treat a lot of people and has cured their tinnitus. The therapy utilizes a special technique to help patients get over their symptoms.

Suppose it starts to rain and you see it splashing against the window and hear the sound of it falling on the roof. You notice it at first and listen to it for some time, after which you tell your mind to focus on something else. The splashing sound of the rain you notice at first, falls from your attention and overtime, it will become unnoticed and out of your mind.

How Does The TRT Treatment Work?

TRT treatment requires the patient to be in close contact and cooperation with hearing professionals and ENT doctors. The therapy is used after detecting the exact source of the tinnitus and the aim of the therapy is to teach the brain to completely ignore the buzzing, ringing, or hissing sound in the ears. This form of therapy uses three very significant therapeutic steps. They are as follows:

  1. The doctor will first collect extensive information about the person afflicted with the condition. This information will include the patients’ daily living habits and their full medical/ health history.
  2. The doctors will use certain special devices to place behind a patient’s ears which will generate broad band noise and divert the attention of the person away from the sounds they hear as a result of tinnitus.
  3. The patient will also undergo psychological therapy that will teach them to ignore the ringing or buzzing sound in their ears. It will train the patient to ignore the tinnitus generated noise. This therapy will be combined with stress management and deep relaxation exercises.
  4. The purpose of this therapy is to eliminate the anxiety of the patient and make them realize that he does not need to perceive tinnitus as a danger or threat. This will help patients divert their attention from the tinnitus noise or sound and help them focus on other things.

The end result of the TRT treatment is the complete habituation of the tinnitus noise – to make the patient get used to the noise completely and not let it bother them. Of course, this therapy is still new and in the developing stages and will take some time to be perfected. It is also up to the patient to accept the treatment with an open mind and allow it to work on him.

Suffering from tinnitus can adversely affect your day-to-day activities. If it has become a problem for you, contact our office.

Get In Touch Today

Feel free to contact the clinic to arrange a full diagnostic hearing assessment with one of our audiologists. 

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