Letters to the Editor: Minor Ailments, Major Problems

Mike looks back at a tricky search for treatment for, what on the face of it, seemed like a minor ailment. 

It all began in January 2019 . . My wife was feeling as if she had a blockage in her ears and was finding it increasingly difficult to hear my “mutterings” (her words not mine) She rang our GP and got an appointment to have her ears syringed and also got a referral for a hearing test.

In February she had her ears syringed at our GP and the following month she had an NHS set of hearing aids fitted at SpecSavers. Seems like we had solved the problem She could now hear all my “mutterings “ and all was well in the world.

However, in September she once again felt her ears were blocked. This time she checked at a local chemist who recommended putting olive oil to help clear them. But in October olive oil didn’t seem to be solving the problem so she made an appointment with our GP who told her to continue with the olive oil to resolve the problem.

No such luck, In November still feeling her ears were blocked she rang our GP to have her ears syringed. She was told at the reception that there was a huge waiting list of patients wanting their ears syringing and that she couldn’t be accommodated until January 2020. They did however advise her to try a National Pharmacy chain locally who could possibly do the job . . . . . But that would be at a price.

We tried the aforementioned chain because it was becoming very painful and she was also suffering from vertigo as a result. But they too had a very long list of patients waiting to pay for their ears to be syringed, a list just as long as our GP, well into 2020. As the problem seemed to be becoming unbearable we decided to go back to SpecSavers where she had had her hearing aids fitted almost a year ago. But they didn’t do ear syringing and couldn’t help.

Apart from giving us a couple of suggestions as to where we might get it done, one of which was at a Dental service in Sowerby Bridge.

We rang the number and yes they could do the small procedure BUT it would be at a cost of £40 for one ear or £60 for both. By this time as she was in quite a bit of pain, we decided to take the appointment offered, went along had the procedure done , and lo and behold the problem was solved.

At a recent Calderdale Forum 50+ meeting I was informed by a fellow Committee member that he had received several complaints from local residents that they too were finding it difficult to get their ears syringed and that it appeared the local GPs were resisting this procedure. I have been unable to check the veracity of this out, other than our own experience, but if you are in a similar position you too may be finding out just how difficult it is. Without paying of course.

Interestingly we have now received a telephone call from the Dental service who did the procedure for my wife asking her to come along and bring me so that they might explain just how good modern hearing aids are, providing you can afford them!!! They are apparently just like mobile phones, the technology has moved on so much in just a few years, providing you can afford them of course!!!!!