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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Though it is rare, this inner-ear disease often causes tinnitus, along with vertigo.
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.
As a vital human sense, hearing plays a significant role in the way we interact with the world around us, particularly when we’re growing.
Hearing is vital to your child’s development as it will shape the way they learn, focus, and communicate with others. If your child is having difficulties with their hearing, they will feel locked out from the world which will stunt their personal progress.
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing abilities but you’re unsure whether to take action, here are three definitive signs that your child might need a hearing test.
1) Saying “What?” More Frequently
One of the most prominent signs of hearing loss or difficulties is asking people to repeat themselves frequently.
If your child is asking “what?” more often than usual when you are talking to them (or they’re requesting that you repeat your sentence or instructions a lot), it may not just be a case of ‘selective listening’—it could be because of hearing difficulties.
If your child has problems focusing their attention for extended periods of time or they find it difficult to hold a conversation on a specific subject, they could be finding it difficult to process sounds.
Naturally, younger children will zone out or bounce from one thing to the next, but if you feel that a lack of attention is getting in the way of your child’s development, booking a hearing test might be the first step in helping them.
3) Louder speech & louder volume
Has your child started talking at louder volumes than usual? And, do they play music or watch television at a higher volume than usual?
If you’ve answered yes, this may be a sign of hearing challenges—and it will require immediate attention. While your child might be experimenting with speech and sound, if they are experiencing audio-based issues, a hearing test will help you get to the root of the cause.
For your reference, here are other possible signs of child hearing issues:
Responding to you sometimes and not others.
Falling behind in certain areas of education.
Looking at your face intensely when you’re speaking.
Moving one ear forward or leaning in when they are listening to someone speak.
There are several reasons for hearing loss and many subtle signs that your child may need a hearing test. If you have any concerns at all, booking a hearing test is without a doubt, the best course of action.
As a leading hearing specialist in Perth with Subiaco, Duncraig, Geraldton & Karratha, we’ve helped countless people tackle a range of hearing issues. Our specialist staff and cutting-edge equipment and highly-trained audiologists will guide your child through every step of the journey.
We are official members of professional bodies, Audiological Society of Australia, Australian College of Audiology and Independent Audiology Australia—and with over 30 years of professional experience, you can count on us.
For more information about our cutting-edge hearing healthcare services, please call (08) 9388 8003. Or book an appointment at one of our Perth branches today—we look forward to meeting you.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
· 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.