Hearing Loss

Find out the causes of hearing loss and support options.

Causes of hearing loss

Are you experiencing hearing loss? Wondering what causes it?

Hearing loss can be attributed to nerve damage in the inner ear (sensorineural hearing loss) or there may be a medical reason for the loss (conductive hearing loss) resulting from middle ear dysfunction (i.e. fluid behind the ear drum), or it may be as simple as wax blocking the ear canal.

As there are different types of hearing loss which can arise from anywhere along the auditory system it’s important to have a comprehensive diagnostic hearing test to determine the type of loss. Furthermore it is important for an individual to understand the hearing loss before considering hearings aids, if a fitting is appropriate.

Communication is a complex process that allows you to stay connected. An appropriate hearing aid fitting can provide significant benefit for improving speech clarity and overall sound detection. However the rehabilitation component of the hearing aid fitting is essential for supporting clients to process and make sense of the sounds that they were previously missing out on.

Why it's important to address hearing loss

The Independent Audiologists Association highlights six key factors, which explain why it’s important to address hearing loss, sooner rather than later.

Number 1

Increases energy

If a person has an untreated hearing loss, they often use lot of energy to listen each day. Appropriately fitted hearing aids and good communication strategies can reduce that effort, and free up energy to be used elsewhere.

Number 2

Improves communication

Untreated hearing loss, which may gradually deteriorate over years, can lead to withdrawal from social situations. Eventually, it becomes easier to stay at home than to attend a function, which can lead to long-term isolation and loneliness. Strong social connections, laughter, exercise, and activity have been shown to keep the brain young.

Number 3

Saves relationships

Hearing loss becomes a “third party” disability for friends and family of the person with a hearing loss, which over years, can lead to frustration and disconnection.

Number 4

Improves employment

Hearing loss may have a negative impact on promotions, safety in the workplace and job security. Hearing aids have been shown to mitigate loss of income due to hearing loss by 90%-100% for people with mild hearing loss, and 65%-77% for people with moderate to severe hearing losses (Kochkin, 2010).

Number 5

Provides relief from tinnitus

If tinnitus presents with a hearing loss, appropriately fitted hearing aids can reduce, and in some cases completely eliminate, the perception of the tinnitus. There are also devices that combine a hearing aid and a noise generator in a single unit, and these can provide the benefits of both.

Number 6

Improves quality of life

Untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation over the long term. Depression can follow. Research has shown that wearing appropriately fitted hearing aids and adopting communication strategies can help improve the social and emotional impact of hearing loss, as well as increase communication and decrease self-reports of depressive symptoms.

Get support for hearing loss

If you’re concerned about hearing loss, get in touch to either book a free Hearing Screening or a more comprehensive Hearing Assessment. Or simply contact our Osborne Park clinic via phone or email for more information.

What is a free hearing screening?

A free hearing screening takes 15 minutes and will provide you with some initial feedback on the hearing loss you may be experiencing.

You can ask any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids, and start to understand the next steps available to you.

We can also answer any questions you have about funding and rebates available to you, and let you know what to ask your health fund about health fund rebates or how to access government funding if you’re eligible.

What is a comprehensive hearing assessment?

A comprehensive hearing assessment takes one hour and includes a range of tests. The assessment costs $120, however this may be covered by your health insurance. Ask your health fund if you’re covered for audiology.

During the appointment we’ll ask you questions to better understand how hearing loss is impacting your life and relationships.

This will include your age, current lifestyle, work situation, other health concerns and similar.

Your results will be provided in the form of a confidential report that interprets an accompanying audiogram (a graph that captures the assessment findings).

At the end of the assessment, if hearing aids are a recommended option, the different types of hearing aids will be explained.

We can also answer any questions you have about funding and rebates available, and let you know where to go for more information from your health fund or how to access government support.

Diagnostic hearing tests

The types of hearing tests include:

  • Case history and otoscopic examination.
  • Pure tone audiometry (air and bone conduction testing with masking as required).
  • Speech audiometry (to establish speech discrimination ability at a range of intensity levels).
  • Immittance measures (tympanometry and acoustic reflex thresholds).
  • Communication abilities (adaptations of the individual and family members to hearing loss).

Our skilled audiologists will  interpret the test results and provide you with a report on the audiological diagnosis, which will indicate the following:

  • Degree of hearing loss (mild, moderate, severe or profound).
  • Type of hearing loss (conductive, sensorineural, mixed, processing).
  • Configuration of hearing loss (the range of sounds affected).
  • Site of lesion (peripheral, central, outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, neural, central).

The audiological assessment will help to determine your next steps, which may include:

  • Need for referral to a medical or surgical specialist.
  • Audiological treatment options that may benefit you (hearing aids, implantable devices, communication training, counselling or a combination of these).
  • Limitations of any treatment program that can be anticipated and how limitations will be overcome (through family involvement, for example)

Want to know more?

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