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HEARING LOSS

Can occur at any age and for a variety of reasons.

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, 3.6 million people in Australia have some level of hearing loss. More than 1.3 million Australians are living with a hearing condition that could have been prevented and 1-3 Australians have noise related ear damage.

However, it is important to note that hearing tests are not as commonly performed compared to say eye or dental checks. Therefore, the number of people with a hearing loss could be higher. Just like we have our sight tested, we should be having our hearing checked.  We recommend a hearing test for preschool age children and dependant on the results of that check, we will then have a recommendation for when a review is required. Quite often children start their early education without a hearing test, and it is a good 6 months before there are signs of learning difficulties and then we start to investigate why that might be. At this stage, 6 months of learning has been missed.   If we can establish a loss before they start their early education we can implement strategies from the start of their learning, avoiding any delays in learning.

What causes hearing loss?

  1. Noise-induced hearing loss: Exposure to loud noises, either through occupational or recreational activities, can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear and lead to hearing loss. Industries such as construction, manufacturing, and entertainment are particularly at risk. Listening to loud music through headphones are contributing to hearing loss.
  2. Genetic factors: Certain genetic conditions or inherited traits can contribute to hearing loss. These can be present at birth or develop later in life. Do you have a history of hearing loss in the family?
  3. Ototoxic medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and high-dose aspirin, can cause damage to the auditory system and result in hearing loss.
  4. Ear infections: Frequent or severe ear infections, particularly in childhood, can damage the structures of the ear and affect hearing.
  5. Trauma: Head injuries or trauma to the ear can cause hearing loss, either by direct damage to the ear or through damage to the auditory pathways in the brain.
  6. Medical conditions: Various medical conditions, including otosclerosis, Ménière’s disease, autoimmune disorders, and eustachian tube dysfunction can impact hearing function.
  7. Age-related hearing loss: This is the most prevalent form of hearing loss and typically occurs gradually, because of the natural aging process. Just like our eyesight our hearing can deteriorate over years. Often the factors mentioned above can contribute to this loss but as it is a gradual decline it takes many years to notice. Quite often we do not even realise the loss has occurred. We have many patients that when fitted with their hearing devices comment that they now hear sounds that they had not heard for a long time. The fact they had not heard the sound had not even occurred to them.

Do any of the following apply to you?

-Are you constantly turning up the TV?

-Do you hear the clicking of the car indicators?

-Do you hear the birds chirping in the morning?

-Do you frequently feel that family members tell you they have already told you this and you do not recall?

-Do you miss phone calls or the doorbell?

-Have buzzing or ringing in your ears?

-Have difficult hearing in restaurants or noisy situations? Whilst it’s practical and on trend for restaurants and cafes to have limited soft furnishings, these environments are not a great listening environments.

-Do you feel exhausted after being out in social situations? This often is because our brains have been working so hard to hear and understand the conversations, it can leave you feeling exhausted.

For children-

Do they have a speech delay or is their speech unclear?

Do you think your child has selective hearing? It can be possible, they are missing certain sounds, as they have impaired hearing in different situations.

Is your child struggling at school?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, please book an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test!

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