What is Involved in a Hearing Loss Screening Test?

What is Involved in a Hearing Loss Screening Test?

There are many reasons you may need a hearing screening test. Whether you’re experiencing a slight loss of sound, you need an occupational test, or you have a child with suspected hearing problems—knowing what to expect will reduce any anxiety or stress on the day.

What is Involved in a Hearing Loss Screening Test

While any good audiologist or hearing specialist will tailor the test to the specific needs or condition of their patients, there are certain aspects that are common to almost all assessments.

If you want to know what to expect during a hearing loss screening test, read on because we’re going to tell you…

The consultation

To determine what type of hearing loss screening you might need, it’s common that an audiologist will conduct a consultation prior to the test itself. This is a process that may involve filling out forms and answering relevant questions.

As Perth’s leading hearing specialist, we offer free hearing consultations for all pensioners and detailed diagnostic consultations at our three WA-based clinics.

The hearing loss screening & testing

Once you’ve outlined your hearing or medical history and answered any relevant questions, you’ll be ready to start the screening process.

You may be a little nervous if you’ve never had a hearing test before, but to put your mind at ease, it’s important to know that whatever the circumstances, these tests aren’t painful or invasive.

With our WA-based hearing tests, no one size fits all. But here’s what you can expect from a general screening:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: Listening to a variety of tones and volumes in a sound-treated room or vessel.
  • Speech-based audiometry: Sitting in a quiet environment and listening to excerpts of speech at different volumes to determine your comfortable listening threshold.
  • Real-world-type hearing assessment: This form of screening is similar to speech-based audiometry, but in this instance, speech is mixed with real-world background sounds and noises.
  • Tympanometry: Sometimes an audiologist will conduct a tympanometry test which involves screening for your acoustic reflexes. Typically, a soft earplug is placed in the ear to check how effectively your ear muscles are moving while measuring your middle ear muscles’ reflexive response.

Whatever your hearing test involves, a professional audiologist will remain to guide you through the process from start to finish.

The results

At the end of your hearing loss screening test, your audiologist will take you through the results; explaining their findings in detail.

With your results explained in full, you will be offered treatment options tailored to your specific hearing issue.

At Hearing & Audiology Perth, we will help you find the best treatment for your needs and take you through the process step by step. We also offer an exceptional aftercare service, should you need it further down the line.

With over 34 years of specialist experience and an industry-leading team of clinicians, we can help you with all of your hearing needs.

If you’d like to book a hearing loss screening test at one of our three WA hearing clinics, call us on (08) 9388 8003 or book an appointment online. We’re here for you.

Tinnitus and Hearing Awareness Week

Tinnitus and Hearing Awareness Week

Hearing Awareness Week is held each year to coincide with World Hearing Day on 3rd March. Hearing loss is a significant issue in Australia, costing $15 billion each year. Hearing loss is more common than heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and affects 70% of people over the age of 70. 

Tinnitus and Hearing Awareness Week

Tinnitus can be both a cause and a side effect of hearing loss and affects around 18% of the Australian population.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of noise inside the head or ear, including ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing, roaring, or rushing, heard in either one or both ears. Occasionally, it can be the sound of music playing, particularly in older people.

For some people, tinnitus is constant, while for others, it comes and goes. It can sound to the sufferer as if it is coming from somewhere external, or it can be clear that it is from inside the head.

The noise that tinnitus sufferers can hear is not caused by any outside source but comes from a fault in the auditory system. It can be mild, causing annoyance but not interfering in everyday life. 

It can also be severe and debilitating. Tinnitus sufferers may experience poor concentration, fatigue and sleeping problems, stress, irritability, memory problems, anxiety and depression.

Causes of tinnitus

It has no single cause and can be a symptom of a number of underlying disorders. Depending on the cause it may be possible to treat or reduce tinnitus symptoms, while for others symptoms can be managed. People who have hearing loss are more likely to experience tinnitus, but it can affect anyone, of any age. Men are slightly more likely to have tinnitus than women.

Some common causes of tinnitus include:

Long-term exposure to loud noises

The ringing in your ears that you may have experienced following a loud music concert is a form of short-term tinnitus. It usually goes away within a few hours, but consistent exposure to loud noise, whether music or industrial equipment, can cause permanent tinnitus.

Age

Like other hearing problems, age can lead to tinnitus developing in later life. It tends to develop gradually as the ear’s delicate tissue degrades over time, particularly after age 60.

Infection

Ear infections can sometimes cause tinnitus. Though this is usually temporary, repeated ear infections and bouts of tinnitus may cause longer-term symptoms. It is important to have the underlying cause of recurring ear infections investigated.

Earwax 

We all need some earwax to protect the ear canal, keeping it free of dirt and bacteria. In some people, too much earwax develops, blocking the ear and sometimes causing tinnitus.

Ménière’s Disease

Though it is rare, this inner-ear disease often causes tinnitus, along with vertigo. 

Medication

Some types of medication can cause tinnitus, including aspirin, some antibiotics, cancer drugs and antidepressants.

Physical changes to the ear and head

There are a number of physical problems that can cause tinnitus. They include:

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction. The tube that connects the ear to the throat stays open rather than closing as it should. This often develops due to pregnancy or weight loss.
  • Otosclerosis (stiffening of the ear bones). This condition, which is often inherited, can cause tinnitus as the bones in the ear change and grow abnormally.
  • Temporomandibular joint problems. Problems with the joint that connects the jaw to the skull, just below the ear, can lead to tinnitus.
  • Tumours. A tumour in the head or neck can lead to increased pressure on the ear, resulting in tinnitus. An acoustic neuroma, or tumour on the cranial nerve, is particularly likely to result in tinnitus, usually in one ear.
  • Injuries. A perforated eardrum, which can result from a severe ear infection, loud noise or scuba diving, will often cause tinnitus in one ear. In addition, injuries to the head or neck can lead to tinnitus.

Treatment for tinnitus

Severe tinnitus can be deeply distressing, interfering with how you live your life, causing or exacerbating mental health problems and making it difficult to work. It is important to remember that almost all tinnitus can be effectively treated and improved, even if you have been told in the past that there is nothing that can be done.

Treating and managing tinnitus involves understanding how it works, adapting to the symptoms, and improving your psychological associations with it. The treatment of tinnitus depends on the cause, your lifestyle, your personality, and the severity of the condition. It may be that your tinnitus has a specific, treatable cause that we can identify. If it does not, then we will work out the most appropriate course of action to reduce your symptoms.

At Hearing & Audiology, we are passionate about helping people with tinnitus and know that the majority of tinnitus can be treated with the appropriate expertise and care. Our tinnitus specialists have trained with internationally recognised tinnitus experts so that the most up-to-date advancements in knowledge are passed on to you. At your appointment, we will discuss a personalised treatment and management plan with you, while providing strategies to better deal with your tinnitus symptoms. At the conclusion of all assessments, a written report will be sent to your doctor unless otherwise requested. 

To book an appointment with one of our tinnitus specialists, call (08) 9388 8003.

Understanding Hearing and Pitch

Young man can’t hear

Human Hearing

There is an upper and lower limit to the frequencies that animals can detect. These limits can vary significantly depending on the animal. The sound of a vacuum cleaner might not bother us, but it will send your dog running because of the painful high-pitched sound we can’t hear.

Our range of hearing is relevant to our world experience. Cats hear the high-frequency squeaks of mice in the house, while elephants live in a world of low rumbles of far-away friends. Our experience is somewhere in between.

A normal person with healthy hearing can hear sounds between 20 and 20,000 Hz. We are most sensitive to frequencies between 200 and 2000 Hz, which make up two-thirds of the sounds we come across.

As we age, our detection range diminishes, starting with higher frequencies. However, this can also happen from repeated exposure to loud noise. Losing the ability to hear sounds impacts the way we perceive our world and communicate with others, having a detrimental effect on our lives.

Enjoying Music

The ability to accurately perceive pitch affects how we enjoy sounds like music. Our ability to identify pitch varies, with categories describing how accurately we can identify exact musical notations and differences between sounds.

Relative Pitch

Relative pitch describes the ability to identify or re-create a musical note by comparing it with and differentiating from another note.

Perfect Pitch

Also called absolute pitch, this is a rare phenomenon in which a person can identify a musical note without reference. For example, someone playing a key on the piano that you can’t see and being able to identify exactly what note it was.

Tone Deaf

This describes an inability to accurately perceive differences between musical notes. The term refers to a natural inability rather than a lack of musical training.

Hearing damage can cause problems with identifying pitch, which is vital for enjoying music. There are cases where people experience more damage to one ear, which can sometimes result in hearing two different pitches in each ear. This can have frustrating effects when it comes to listening to music.

High-frequency Hearing Loss

High-frequency hearing loss is one of the first and most typical signs of hearing damage. This is because high frequency sounds are perceived in the lower part of the inner ear, whereas lower sounds are perceived by hair cells located near the top.

High frequency hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding extended and repetitive exposure to noises above 75 decibels or by wearing hearing protection when exposed to these noisy environments. High frequency hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

Hearing Tests for High Frequency Hearing Loss

High frequency hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate with others, concentrate, identify surrounding dangers, and to enjoy music. Getting a hearing test is the best way to determine your hearing abilities and address any problems.

Hearing And Audiology can provide affordable hearing tests in Perth for adults and children. Get in touch with our team by calling 08 (08) 9388 8003 or enquiring online. We are hearing specialists with more than 30 years of experience and two audiological clinics in Perth- Duncraig and Subiaco, and one in Geraldton.

HEARING AWARENESS WEEK

 

HEARING AWARENESS WEEK

ALL EARS FOR HEARING AWARENESS WEEK

One in six Australians is affected by hearing loss – that’s an estimated 3.5 million people.

Hearing loss in Australia is mainly mild in nature, but one third of people experience a loss that is moderate or severe to profound.

The prevalence of hearing loss rises from 1% for people aged younger than 15 years to three in every four people aged over 70 years.

The number of Australians who are hearing impaired or deaf is increasing because of long-term exposure to excessive noise in the workplace, the environment and a result of an ageing population. Hearing loss is projected to increase to 1 in every 4 Australians by 2050..

For HEARING AWARENESS WEEK – Sunday 23rd to Saturday 29th August 2015 Hearing And Audiology will be conducting FREE community screenings:

Wednesday 26th August – DUNCRAIG SENIOR CITIZENS CENTRE – 10.00 AM TO 1.00 PM

Thursday 27th August – WEMBLEY COMMUNITY CENTRE – 1.00 PM to 3.30 PM

During Hearing Awareness Week we are offering FREE screening at our Duncraig and Subiaco Clinics …

For more information:

Appointments

P: (08) 9388 8003

E: info@hearingwa.com.au