If you or a relative are experiencing hearing loss or worried about it, you probably have a lot of questions! Below we’ve answered seven of the most queries we get:
1. How Can I Tell If I Have a Hearing Problem?
Hearing loss is rarely a sudden event – it’s more likely to creep up on you gradually. For this reason, it’s often other people that notice the change first. Here are a few signs you might have a problem:
- You like the TV volume louder than you used to, or louder than others in your family like it
- You regularly ask people to repeat themselves
- You have problems following conversations with multiple people or in noisy environments, such as a busy office or shop
- You experience a buzzing/ringing sound
It might be time to get your hearing checked if you experience one or more of these problems.
2. What Causes Hearing Loss?
Common causes of hearing loss include ageing, exposure to loud noises, infections, and genetic reasons. Other causes include viral infections, certain diseases, and a reaction to certain medications. A build-up of earwax is also a common cause of temporary hearing loss.
3. Does Hearing Loss Mean I Will Go Deaf?
It is impossible to say without a professional hearing evaluation and diagnosis. Many causes of hearing loss are progressive (they get worse over time) but often they reach a certain point and then stabilise. The best way to ensure you minimise the effect of hearing loss is to get effective treatment.
4. Why Are Hearing Aids So Expensive?
Some hearing aids are expensive, but you’re paying for a lot more than just the physical item. The cost covers the research and development of both the software and the hardware necessary to create that hearing aid. Hearing aid manufacturers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing cutting-edge products that will help improve your hearing. That investment means that today’s hearing aids are smaller, have more features, and offer better sound quality.
5. What Is The Best Hearing Aid?
There is no one definitive best hearing aid. The right choice for you will depend upon your specific needs. Visit your local hearing specialist to get a diagnosis and a recommendation for which hearing aids will be best for you.
6. How Do I Choose a Hearing Aid?
Your hearing specialist will make recommendations according to your diagnosis. After that, your choice is largely personal preference. Different brands and models offer different features and styles at different price levels. Typically, smaller, less obtrusive hearing aids will cost more.
We recommend the following brands: Phonak, Unitron, Oticon, Siemens, Widex, and Starkey. Any hearing aid suitable for your diagnosis from one of these brands will be of high quality.
7. What Should I Do If I Suspect Hearing Loss?
Don’t wait! The sooner you get your hearing checked, the better. If you have a problem, a diagnosis will help improve your quality of life, and in many cases, prompt treatment can help slow down further hearing loss.
Worried about hearing loss? Click here to book your free hearing consultation.
Did you know one of your best tools for dealing with hearing loss and tinnitus is probably less than a metre away? Yep – it’s your smartphone. There are hundreds of apps that are designed to enhance hearing, provide additional capabilities, or deliver relief and many of them are either free or only cost a few dollars.
With so many to choose from it’s tough to find the right app – so we’ve done the hard work for you. Below you’ll find our top picks in three categories – Hearing Enhancements, Tinnitus Relief, and Helpful Tools.
Please note: Hearing loss apps and other software are an addition to, not a replacement for, a traditional diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing hearing loss or other symptoms, we strongly recommend you visit your local hearing specialist.
Our Recommended Hearing Enhancement App: Petralex
Petralex is a free app which enables you to use your smartphone as a hearing aid. There are many other apps that offer similar functionality, but Petralex is a step ahead. We don’t recommend you ditch your hearing aid just yet, but this app works as a great alternative if you’ve run out of batteries or don’t wear a hearing aid and need a quick boost.
- 44.1 kHz sampling rate – higher than many hearing aids
- Auto adjusts to your hearing and environment
- Support for Bluetooth headsets
Download for free on iOS here or Android here.
Our Recommended Tinnitus Relief App: ReSound Tinnitus Relief
There are many sound therapy apps available that can help distract your brain and manage the symptoms of Tinnitus; our recommendation is ReSound Tinnitus Relief. It’s not magic: if the severity of your condition means that sound therapy is not effective then this app is unlikely to make the difference, but for everyone else this is the best option.
- Layer up combinations of multiple sounds
- Adjust balance between ears
- Includes guided meditation, deep breathing, and other activities designed to distract from Tinnitus.
- Stream sound to your hearing aid (if you have one)
ReSound Tinnitus Relief costs US$6.99 per month or US$69.99 per year. It is available on iOS here and Android here.
Our Recommended Helpful Tool: Sound Alert
Sound Alert isn’t cheap, but it is clever. The app enables your smartphone to detect certain sounds – such as your smoke alarm – and alert you either through your smartphone or another compatible device. The app comes with some standard sounds pre-installed (mainly smoke and CO alarms), but you can also customize with specific sounds you want alerts for.
- Phone vibration and flashing light to alert you
- Compatible with Pebble watch and compatible alert products (including Bellman and Geemarc products)
- Programme 10 custom sounds
Sound Alert is available on iOS here and Android here.
Special Mention: Hearing Aid Apps
Did you know that most hearing aids now have apps that work with them? Features vary by manufacturer but usually include battery monitoring, the ability to adjust settings, including volume, using your phone, and create and switch between multiple programs. Some also enable wireless streaming.
Do you need to visit a hearing specialist? Hearing And Audiology are independent hearing specialists with more than 30 years’ experience. Contact us online today or call (08) 9388 8003 – no referral required.
“Can you say that again?” If this is something you find yourself saying over and over again throughout the day, it might be time to get your hearing tested.
Aside from your friends and family having to repeat themselves, and your difficulty in following conversations, there are a range of signs that indicate hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss can be caused by many different conditions and circumstances, and can manifest in a number of ways.
To make sure you’re ready to tackle hearing loss as soon as it develops, look out for the following 5 signs that you need to get your hearing tested and get to the audiologist as soon as you notice any of them pop up.
1. It Affects You in Social Situations
· You frequently have to ask people to repeat what they say
· You have difficulty focussing on conversations
· People sound like they’re mumbling or speaking softly
· You can’t understand conversations when you’re in a loud environment (e.g. in a crowded café, in a meeting or at a party)
· People complain that you have to the volume on the TV turned up too loud
· People say you speak loudly
· It’s difficult to understand people over the phone
· You don’t notice when your phone is ringing
· You often misunderstand what people are saying
2. It Takes its Toll on You Mentally and Emotionally
· You feel exhausted from straining to hear others
· You get frustrated at people when you can’t hear them properly
· You feel stressed and annoyed at not being able to hear
· You don’t like meeting new people because you’re afraid you won’t understand them
· You get overwhelmed in noisy social situations
· You’re embarrassed by your poor hearing
3. Your Body is Sending You Warning Signs
· You get headaches from straining to hear
· You have ringing in your ears ( tinnitus)
· You can hear better on one side than the other
· You have an earache
· There’s more wax or discharge in your ears than usual
4. You’ve been Exposed to Loud Noise
· You’ve been exposed to loud noise over a long period of time
· You’ve been exposed to a single extremely loud noise, such as an explosion
5. You Have a Medical History that Points Toward Hearing Loss
· You’ve had a viral or bacterial infection in the ear
· Your ear has been damaged
· You’ve experienced physical trauma to the head
· You have a family history of hearing loss
· You take ototoxic medications
· You have a circulatory condition
· You have a thyroid condition
If you’ve noticed any of the above signs and symptoms of hearing loss, it’s time to have your hearing tested at one of our four Hearing And Audiology clinics in Perth. Our professional Perth audiologists can perform hearing loss services like hearing tests, hearing aids for children and adults of all ages. Book in with an audiologist in Perth online or call us on 08 (08) 9388 8003 today.
Hearing loss in one ear is often described as unilateral hearing loss, or single-sided deafness (SSD). SSD is a type of hearing loss where there is a complete hearing loss in one ear and anything from normal hearing to profound hearing loss in the other ear.
People who suffer from SSD can often have trouble locating sounds, understanding speech, focusing on a single voice and hearing high-frequency sounds. They may also experience severe tinnitus. The causes, effects and treatments of SSD are multiple.
Causes of Hearing Loss in One Ear
There are a number of potential causes of SSD, which are likely to result in different symptoms and treatment methods. Some potential causes of SSD include:
- Damage to the ear
- Head trauma
- Acoustic neuroma
- Meniere’s disease
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Waardenburg syndrome
- Burst blood vessel in the inner ear
- Illnesses including measles, mumps and meningitis and more
The Impact of Single-Sided Deafness
There are a number of indicators that SSD or unilateral hearing loss may be present. The most obvious effects are that the person has trouble:
- Hearing conversation on the impaired side
- Focussing on a single voice in a noisy environment
- Locating where sounds are originating
These difficulties are the result of a phenomenon called “the head shadow effect”. The head shadow effect describes the effect of high-frequency sounds which cannot be perceived due to their inability to travel around the head to reach the functioning ear. The high-frequency sounds, including many sounds used in speech, are “shadowed” by the head and are lost to the person with SSD. Low-frequency sounds, however, can bend around the head to reach the functioning ear. This makes sound depth perception difficult for the brain and sounds may seem flat or muddled, like when we try to speak to someone in a noisy environment and their voice becomes lost, or when someone at the other end of the phone is in a crowded street.
In addition to the head shadow effect, SSD has a number of other symptoms, including:
- Dizziness or vertigo – feeling off balance
- Stress, irritability, anxiousness
- Speaking loudly
- Poor social and interpersonal skills
- Poor communication skills
Treatment for SSD
While SSD is often permanent, many of the above effects of hearing loss in one ear are treatable. For tinnitus, which is often present when hearing loss occurs, special hearing tests and tinnitus treatments are available, including tinnitus retraining therapy.
To treat SSD, you will need to undergo a hearing test with an audiologist. They will assess your hearing loss and try to determine a cause before recommending a particular type of hearing aid suitable for your condition. The hearing aid should reduce the head shadow effect and may restore some of the lost sound.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss in one ear, book an appointment with the audiologists at one of Hearing And Audiology’s four locations. You can find a booking online or call us on 08 (08) 9388 8003 to discuss your symptoms.