London: Help is at hand for the many people who suffer painful and debilitating ear complaints, many of which are avoidable with better ear hygiene and prompt medical attention, according to Deafness Research UK who have recently published a handy leaflet called ‘Trouble With Your Ears?’
One in ten UK people who are registered with a surgery will visit their GP each year with an ear problem and it is this group initially being targeted through the wide distribution of the leaflet to surgeries throughout the UK.
Extra copies are available from Deafness Research UK. To receive free samples, call the freephone helpline on 0808 808 2222, or e-mail < ahref="mailto:"email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org You can also access a wide range of information about deafness, ear problems and tinnitus from their website www.deafnessresearch.org.uk
Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, pictured, said: ” ‘Trouble With Your Ears?’ offers practical help and advice to patients to ensure they get the best possible treatment for ear infections, earwax or other ear problems that can cause pain and discomfort. The leaflet includes ‘top 10 tips’ for better ear health.
“There is evidence to suggest that ear problems are not always recognised by general practitioners and can be left untreated. In these cases, or where treatment is unsuitable, such as the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, a mild condition can become more serious.
“It is also common for elderly people attending hospital for a hearing aid, to be found to have factors other than old age contributing to their hearing loss. The fitting of a hearing aid can often be delayed while a patient is referred back to their GP for earwax removal.
“The more aware patients are of the treatments they should expect, the better the prospects for their recovery,” adds Vivienne Michael. “There is also plenty of self help information in ‘Trouble With Your Ears?’ and tips to avoid ear problems in the first place.
“The Department of Health is committed to helping patients to help themselves, yet few primary care trusts have yet adopted a ‘self care’ strategy. Applied to the treatment of ear complaints, the burden on GPs could be greatly reduced and absence from work because of an ear problem could be halved. However, without good quality information, more harm than good can be done as is evident from the number of patients who present with problems caused by trying to clean out their ears with a cotton bud!
“Through the ‘Trouble With your Ears?’ leaflet, we aim to raise awareness of ear problems and give them more prominence on the public health agenda”, concludes Vivienne Michael.
Deafness Research UK is the country’s only charity dedicated to finding new cures, treatments and technologies for the deaf, hard of hearing and other hearing impaired people including tinnitus sufferers.