(AN INTERVIEW WITH ROGER SMITH FROM THE HB CHAMBER BUSINESS NETWORK)
“This is my wife Anne” Nick says when I meet him “and she sucks ears for a living.”
“That is without doubt the most interesting way anyone has introduced their partner to me!” I respond. “So come on Anne,” I say, “what’s he on about?”
“We are Ear Suction Hawke’s Bay” she tells me “and we are all about ear and hearing health”.
“The human ear is programmed to produce wax to protect the ear canal and the drum” Anne tells me “and sometimes that wax can get dry, stuck or impacted. That can cause issues like poor balance or vertigo and also infections that can affect the whole body. And obviously it will also create hearing loss. We are the first port of call when anyone is experiencing ear or hearing issues because a simple, painless clearing of the ear wax might be all that is required to send a happy patient on their way” she says.
“I thought you went to a doctor to get an ear syringe for that” I say.
“Once upon a time you did” she says. “But that is now frowned upon as a treatment method. High pressure water into the ear can impact the wax even more and create greater problems. The ACC have recognised this as an issue and now will not recognise ear syringing as a medical procedure”
“How do you do it?” I ask her.
“I use a tiny suction device that gently and quickly removes any wax adhering to the canal wall or ear drum. It only takes a few seconds and the benefits are immediate. If there are any other issues inside the ear I can let the patient know and advise them on who to see about that” she tells me.
Anne is a registered nurse with years of experience in audiology testing. The combination of these two professions is what makes her so good at spotting any issues early and guiding patients on the right course of action.
Nick, her business partner and husband, used to be an accountant so he is pretty good at the business side of things. He sees his role as business development and enjoys working on the creative side of the business. “I am not just a number cruncher!” he assures me. Together they have five ear clinics across Hawke's Bay.
“Who should be coming to see you for a check-up?” I ask.
“Anyone working in a noisy and or dusty environment” Anne says. “In those conditions the ear produces extra wax to protect the ear drum and that can lead to problems. Also older people. Many of them assume their hearing loss is a result of aging but older people produce more wax and I can often fix their hearing loss in a few seconds. And professional people", she continues, "Stress increases the heart rate and that produces more wax. I encourage them to get regular checks as well. Ears are irreplaceable so I encourage everyone to look after them!"
“What is the best thing about sucking ears?” I ask her.
“I can change someone’s life in 2 minutes” she says. “Some people come to me convinced they are going deaf and believe there is nothing anyone can do about it. Often they leave my clinic with their hearing restored and no hearing aid in their future anytime soon. That is a blast when that happens” Anne says.
When I left Anne’s clinic after my treatment I noticed there were a lot more birds singing than when I went in. And I didn’t have the car radio on that loud did I?
Hmmm, I wonder if Anne has anything to do with that?