What is Glue Ear?
Glue ear is the build-up of a sticky glue-like fluid in the middle ear as a result of chronic inflammation. A healthy middle ear (the space immediately behind your eardrum) contains air and no fluid. This helps the eardrum to vibrate freely in response to sound. Glue ear can cause temporary deafness. Glue ear is a very common condition in young children aged between two and five years. In most children, glue ear clears up on its own. However, up to 5% of children get persistent glue ear. If left untreated, this can cause permanent hearing loss. Doctors call inflammation of the middle ear ‘otitis media’ and if it results in glue ear, they call this ‘otitis media with effusion’.
What are the symptoms of glue ear?
The symptoms of glue ear are not always very obvious. Glue ear can affect a child’s hearing, although the hearing loss may not be present all the time and may fluctuate. This can sometimes make it difficult to know if your child is having hearing problems. If their hearing is affected, a child may sometimes not respond when talked to, may find it difficult to concentrate and quickly get tired and irritable. Young children may be slow to develop speech. Older children may be able to tell you if they cannot hear very well. You may notice that they say ‘pardon?’ or ‘what?’ a lot, or that they turn the television up loud.
How does a child get glue ear?
To understand how a child gets glue ear and how it affects hearing, first we need to explain a bit about how the ear and hearing system works. Sound waves enter the ear and move along the ear canal until they reach the eardrum, causing it to vibrate. A chain of three small bones (ossicles) in the middle ear link the eardrum to the inner ear. These bones transmit the vibrations from the eardrum to the cochlea in the inner ear, where there are thousands of tiny sound receptors. From here, the ‘sound message’ is passed along the nerve of hearing to the brain. The middle ear needs to be full of air to let the eardrum and small bones vibrate freely. Air reaches the middle ear through the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat. The eustachian tube is closed for 95% of the time and only opens when you swallow or yawn. If the eustachian tube can’t open properly, you get a vacuum in the middle ear. Children have a smaller, more horizontal eustachian tube than adults do. This makes it more likely to become blocked, which stops it from opening properly. This can lead to a vacuum in their middle ear. Once this vacuum has formed, the lining of the middle ear becomes inflamed. To begin with, a thin fluid seeps out from this lining into the middle ear space. This is what happens if your child has an ear infection or if the eustachian tube is blocked for other reasons. The fluid can then become thicker, causing ‘glue ear’. Fluid in the middle ear especially if it thickens, can prevent the eardrum and small bones from vibrating which affects hearing.
Hearing Test & Hearing Aid Costs
How much does a hearing test cost?
The cost for a hearing assessment is €65 for an Adult and €85 for a Pediatric assessment. Why do we charge for an assessments and others do not you may ask?, the assessments we provide are diagnostic assessments and exceed all EU and Irish requirements. The ‘free’ assessments provided by others are essentially ‘hearing screenings’, are quick to conduct and are not not exhaustive in their testing methods. Our assessments are used by local ENT Consultants for their Private patients to determine the carepath required.
How much do digital hearing aids cost?
Hearing instruments range in price from approximately €1,000 to €2,800 each. Our consultation is free and takes only an hour of your time with our audiologists to discuss your needs, prices and funding. Investigate your personal insurance to see if they cover any portion of the cost of hearing aids e.g St. Pauls, PRSI grant etc.
How do I pay for my hearing aids?
A deposit is required at the time of the order and the balance is payable on receipt of your hearing aids. Cash, cheque or bank draft are accepted.
Can I exchange my hearing instrument for something different and how much does it cost?
During the 30 day trial period you can exchange your hearing instruments. Most people who exchange their instruments do so because they want the benefits that come with higher-end instruments. At Galway Hearing Care, we charge only the difference in the cost of the hearing instruments.
What is the warranty of hearing instruments?
At Galway Hearing Care our instruments come with a two-year repair warranty. The repair warranty ensures that in the unlikely event of a manufacturer’s fault that there are no charges to repair or replace the defective product.
Choosing A Suitable Hearing Aid
What are the benefits of digital hearing aids over analogue?
Today’s digital hearing instruments are far superior to analog and even first-generation digital hearing instruments. Digital hearing aids can precisely fit any type of hearing loss for superior distortion-free sound quality and some can even control background noise effectively (refer to the Advanced Technology section on this website for more information on digital circuitry).
What kind of hearing instruments do you have?
Galway Hearing Care carries a wide variety of manufacturers’ hearing instruments. For information on the major manufacturers, refer to the links on our products page.
How do I know which style of hearing instrument is appropiate for me?
A hearing test, lifestyle evaluation and needs assessment with your audiologist can help determine the best brand, technology, model and style of hearing instrument appropriate for you. Speech-In-Noise testing will provide our clinicians with additional information about the need for directional microphone technology which will dictate the style to some degree.
How long does it take to obtain a hearing instrument?
Once the earmold impression is taken and is sent to the manufacturer, a finished hearing instrument arrives in approximately 10 to 15 business days.
Fitting A Hearing Aid
What happens at the hearing instrument fitting appointment?
The fitting appointment typically requires 60 minutes. At this appointment, your new hearing instruments will be programmed for your hearing loss and your lifestyle. An audiologist will also perform an REM (real ear measurement) or Digital Speech Mapping evaluation to ensure that you are receiving adequate gain for your hearing loss. The REM and/or Speech Mapping evaluation is an extremely important part of the fitting. It allows the audiologist to accurately fit the frequency response of the hearing instruments to the user’s ear and to ensure that tolerance parameters are maintained.
What is the importance of the REM or speech mapping?
All hearing instruments are designed to be most effective with a frequency response (to simplify – the bass and treble settings) based on the type, degree and configuration of the hearing loss and the technology within the hearing instruments. The problem that arises is that each ear has its own unique physical characteristics which influence the frequency response. A smaller ear canal will increase the power of a hearing instrument (which results in uncomfortably loud amplification) and a larger ear canal will decrease the power of a hearing instrument (which results in unusually quiet amplification). A REM or Digital Speech Mapping will precisely measure the power created or deleted by your unique ear canal characteristics allowing the audiologist the opportunity to precisely correct for it with the hearing instrument software. Simply stated, without a REM you may not acquire the most effective benefits of amplification and you may be unsatisfied with your hearing instruments. The signal used to test with REMs is a pure tone sweep, a simulated speech signal, a music file, or simulated listening situations (such as a voice in noise or a restaurant situation). There has been much current research on verification of amplification once the hearing aid is placed in the patients’ ear. Some researchers and clinicians will do speech mapping instead of REM, as an actual speech signal is used to assess the gain one receives through the hearing aid (your significant other can speak into a microphone and the hearing aids can be adjusted accordingly). Further, our advanced equipment, which is unique to our clinic, can simulate hearing loss. Your actual hearing test can be inputted into the computer so that others can actually hear what the world sounds like to an individual with a particular hearing loss. Different types of sound stimuli (men’s voice, woman’s voice, speech in quiet, speech in noise, and different types of music) can be used to demonstrate your hearing levels and will show others how you perceive these different types of sounds.
How many appointments will I require after the initial fitting?
The number of appointments will vary depending on your situation. It could be as few as one follow-up appointment or as many as 7. It is strongly recommended that you have at least one follow-up appointment 2 weeks following the initial fitting. If at that point you are happy with the hearing instruments performance and you are not experiencing any difficulty with care and maintenance of the instruments, then you may not require further appointments. However, the short-term follow-up appointments should be utilised to ensure that you are satisfied with your new instruments and that they are “fine-tuned” optimally for your particular listening situations.
What happensif I don't like the hearing instrument or realise I need asomething better?
If you have a question about hearing loss or any other condition associated with poor hearing which isn’t covered above, please feel free to contact us via our online form and we will do our best to help you.