Hear! Hear! Look after your ears!
As a senior audiologist with the Top End Health Service’s Hearing Services Outreach Program Salimon Joseph spends a lot of time visiting remote communities helping Aboriginal Territorians– and he loves it.
“I get to see my patients in their comfort zone,” Mr Joseph said of his trips to communities, where he undertakes hearing assessments for all the children who has been referred to the program.
For Hearing Awareness Week (1-7 March) and World Hearing Day (3 March), Mr Joseph wants to pass on to Territorians everywhere to look after their ears and their hearing.
Almost half (49 percent) of childhood hearing loss is preventable, as is over a third (37 percent) of adult hearing loss.
During his remote trips, Mr Joseph and the outreach team share ear disease prevention tips with parents, including ensuring children get their ears checked regularly; wash their face and hands and blow their nose frequently; have a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables; keep vaccinations up to date; avoid smoking around kids and ask parents and carers to teach kids not to stick anything in their ears.
You can have a hearing loss if you often ask people to repeat themselves; turn up the volume of the radio or television; have difficulty following conversations in noisy places; have difficulty in understanding what is said over the phone; have a problem in hearing sounds like an alarm or a telephone ringing and are told by people that you speak loudly or experience tinnitus.
NT Health runs the Hearing Health Program, an outreach Audiology and ENT Teleotology service that provide ear and hearing health care to Aboriginal children living in remote and regional communities with the aim to reduce ear disease and hearing loss.
The Hearing Health Program can be contacted on phone 8985 8023 or via email: HearingHealthProgramDoH@nt.gov.au
NT Hearing has clinics in Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy where NT residents can access diagnostic hearing testing from birth to adulthood. These clinics can be contacted by calling 8922 7110 or by email on NTHearing.Darwin@nt.gov.au
Central Australia Health Service can be contacted at Alice Springs 8951 6711.
Some important tips for good ear health and avoiding ear infections:
- Don’t try to clean your ears by poking anything into the ear canals such as cotton tips. You may injure the delicate skin. Ears are self-cleaning so used a wet cloth to remove wax from your outer ear
- Protect your hearing from loud noises at work or concerts with earplugs. Workplace guidelines should always be followed to use appropriate noise protection devices.
- If you listen to music a lot, follow the 60/60 rule: listening at no more than 60 percent volume for no more than 60 minutes a day
- Blow your nose and wash your hands regularly and especially when you have a cold
- See a professional to have excessive ear wax removed.
Images: Top End Hearing Services audiologists Salimon Joseph and Laura Wade