I’ve been helping people with their hearing health for almost 30 years.
And the same questions about hearing loss still pop up every week. People worry about whether their hearing loss is ‘bad enough’ to treat. Or they’re concerned that hearing aids won’t work – that they’ll make them look and feel ‘old’.
More recently, people ask me about the latest hearing aid technology. Will the newer hearing aids help them hear the TV and make conversations on the phone clearer? Being able to hear in noisy places, like cafes and shopping centres, is also a worry.
So, we thought we’d answer some of the most common questions about hearing loss and hearing aids.
What are the tell-tale signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can develop slowly over time – or it may be caused by exposure to a sudden loud noise.
Whatever’s the cause of your hearing loss, the most common signs that it’s time to have your hearing checked are:
- You find yourself turning up the volume on the television or radio
- You ask people to repeat what they’ve said
- People always seem to be mumbling or not speaking clearly
- You can hear people speaking, but it’s hard to understand what they’re saying – there’s a lack of clarity. This is especially a problem on the phone.
- Hearing in noisy places is difficult
If you have two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to have your hearing checked. As a start, you could try our free online hearing test.
Will hearing aids help me hear in noisy places?
Helping people hear conversations when there’s background noise, has been one of the great challenges for hearing health professionals and makers of hearing devices.
After all, being able to communicate with our friends and family is what life’s all about.
Most of the latest hearing aids are designed to improve your ability to hear people’s voices, even when there’s a lot of noise in the background.
The most advanced hearing devices automatically adjust to different environments. They also allow you to make your own adjustments so you can hear comfortably.
Will hearing aids make a difference to my hearing?
Many people live with hearing loss for far too long. They often isolate themselves, avoiding situations where they have trouble hearing. They turn up the TV full-blast and ask others to repeat themselves.
It’s understandable. But it’s not something you should have to put up with.
The Government supports older Australians by providing basic hearing health assistance through their Hearing Services Program. Eligible seniors are even entitled to free hearing aids through this scheme.
There’s no doubt that with the right hearing aid and proper professional support, hearing aids can make a real difference to your hearing experience.
The key is to have your hearing tested and properly diagnosed.
Can you cure hearing loss?
About one in six Australians have some level of hearing loss. This number increases as we get older. Whether you can cure or even treat your hearing loss depends on the type of hearing loss and the damage.
Conductive hearing loss accounts for around 10% cases. Conductive hearing loss results from a problem with the passage of sound through the outer ear and/or middle ear.
The problem could be simple, like a blockage due to too much earwax. Or hearing loss could be caused by an infection or perforation of the eardrum.
The effect can range from mild to moderate hearing loss.
The good news is that conductive hearing loss can often be medically treated. In many cases, your hearing can be completely restored.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It happens when there’s damage to the sensory hair cells of the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The effect can range from mild and moderate, to severe or profound hearing loss.
This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Hearing aids or cochlear implants are the most common treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.
You can read more about the different types of hearing losses here.
What about tinnitus? Can you cure it?
People of all ages can experience tinnitus. Tinnitus is that annoying ‘ringing in the ears’ that can drive you crazy, especially when things are quiet.
Like some forms of hearing loss, there’s no simple and permanent cure for tinnitus.
However, you can minimise the effects of tinnitus through treatments such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). If you have tinnitus, it’s often accompanied by hearing loss. In these cases, hearing aids can help relieve the symptoms.
You can read more about tinnitus – the causes and treatments – here.
If you have questions about hearing loss, don’t hesitate to get in touch. To have your hearing checked or come in for a chat about your hearing health, please give us a call on 1300 970 558.