Everything You Need to Know

Hearing loss is experienced by the majority of Australians as they age. Yet many people ignore the signs — on average, it is seven years from the time we are first aware of hearing loss until we take action.

Delaying help causes many people unnecessary stress and unhappiness. If you’re experiencing some of these common signs of hearing loss, Audiology Solutions is here to help.

Common Signs of Hearing Loss

The symptoms of hearing loss most often occur gradually and may take some time to become noticeable.

If one or more of the following statements feel familiar to you, we recommend having your hearing tested by an Audiologist.

  • You feel that others are mumbling
  • You have difficulty understanding conversations in groups or noisy environments
  • You frequently have to ask for repetitions from others
  • Family, friends or colleagues mention that they often have to repeat themselves
  • You need to increase the TV or radio volume in order to hear
  • You find yourself watching the speaker’s lips in order to follow the conversation
  • You often miss phone calls or the doorbell ringing, and you have difficulty hearing on the phone
  • You find yourself withdrawing from certain social activities because it is difficult to hear and communicate
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  • Speech and language delay
  • Inattentiveness
  • Requesting repetition from others
  • Not responding when their name is called
  • Learning difficulties at school
  • Not reacting to sounds in their environment
  • Listening to media at a loud volume
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Conditions and Types of Hearing Loss

After a comprehensive hearing assessment, you may be told that you have one of three types of hearing loss or a related condition.

Some will require medical intervention, while many people with a hearing loss condition will find drastic improvement with the use of hearing aids.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When there is an issue in the outer and/or middle ears, sound may not be able to travel through to the inner ear — this is known as conductive hearing loss.

You may find that the overall volume of sound is reduced, and that voices and sounds appear faint. You may miss parts of conversations, need to ask for frequent repetition and feel the need to watch people’s faces or lips while they speak.

The most common causes of conductive hearing loss are:

  • Wax buildup in the ear canals
  • Tumours or growths in the outer or middle ears
  • Ear infections of the outer or middle ears
  • Fluid buildup in the middle ear space
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Perforations of the eardrum
  • Damaged or defective ossicles (middle ear bones)
  • Otosclerosis, a condition affecting the stapes bone in the middle ear

Conductive hearing loss can often be reversed through medical or surgical treatment of the root cause.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Often permanent, sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the delicate sensory cells or nerve fibres of the inner ear (cochlea) are damaged, stopping them from transmitting sound to the brain properly.

You may experience this as a reduced ability to hear, difficulty understanding what other people are saying, and/or a distortion of sounds, in one or both ears.

This type of hearing loss is usually caused by the natural process of ageing or excessive exposure to noise, but can also be caused by:

  • Trauma to the inner ear
  • Viral infections
  • Drugs toxic to the inner ear
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Genetic/hereditary hearing loss
  • Meniere’s disease

At Audiology Solutions, we can provide trusted advice on the best hearing device solutions for sensorineural hearing loss, tailored to your lifestyle.

Important: If you or anyone you know has experienced a sudden drop in your hearing, please contact us immediately as early diagnosis and medical treatment is vital.

Combined Conductive and Sensorineural Hearing Loss

It is not unusual to experience a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses. With mixed hearing loss, both the outer or middle ear and the inner ear are affected, making it difficult to hear speech clearly, particularly in noisy places.

A combination of treatment methods — including medical or surgical intervention, the fitting of hearing aids and auditory rehabilitation — is usually used for this type of hearing loss.

Tinnitus, or Ringing in the Ears

Tinnitus is the medical term for noises in the ear or head, like ringing, humming or hissing, which are not associated with any external sound.

Tinnitus is not a type of hearing loss or a condition itself but is a symptom of some other damage or irritation to the auditory system causing the brain to receive false signals.

Tinnitus can be a sign of conditions such as:

  • Hearing loss
  • Earwax blockage
  • Damage from exposure to loud sounds or sudden impact noises
  • Reaction to certain medicines
  • Neck or head injuries
  • Other untreated medical conditions
  • Otosclerosis, an abnormal growth of bone of the middle ear.

Your Audiologist can determine whether there is a medical condition or hearing loss and may then be able to provide treatment for the cause of the tinnitus or advice on your next steps.

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Do I Need Hearing Aids?

When fitted and programmed by a qualified Audiologist, hearing aids can help manage the symptoms of hearing loss and improve your ability to communicate.

Book a Consultation with Audiology Solutions

For comprehensive hearing health care, choose an Audiologist you can trust.