An audiologist is a university trained professional specialising in the diagnosis of non-medical hearing problems and hearing-related problems, such as tinnitus.
You could benefit from having a hearing test if you or your family are concerned about your hearing / if you experience ringing or sounds in your ears / if you have pain in your ears / or you experience dizziness.
Sudden hearing loss (over hours or days) is considered a medical emergency! While some causes are benign and easily treatable, others require urgent medical attention. If you think you have had a sudden hearing loss, contact us immediately on (02) 6156 4744 and you will be seen for a hearing test within 24hrs.
A hearing assessment is an easy and painless test where you will be required to listen to beeps and speech and respond in certain ways. The audiologist will also look inside your ears and test the flexibility of your ear drum by using a machine that blows a soft puff of air upon it.
Because young children (infants under 3 years) may not be able to follow the instructions required to do an adult hearing assessment, Visual Response Audiometry was developed. This method utilises the natural reflexes of an infant to turn to the source of a sound.
For this test, the audiologist instructs the parent/carer to hold their child facing the audiologist. A sound is then played through a speaker to the side of the child to attract their attention. The child is encouraged to turn towards the speaker. This process is repeated many times with different sounds to determine the child’s hearing level. To keep the child motivated and entertained during the test, a puppet is shown to them each time they turn their head towards the sound.
The treatment of hearing loss depends on which part of the ear it affects.
Most hearing loss involves the inner ear and is permanent in nature. Treatment for this type of hearing loss may include counselling and communication strategies in cases where the hearing loss is of a mild degree, or hearing aids where the hearing loss is of a more severe degree.
Some hearing loss can involve the middle or outer ear.This type of hearing loss is potentially medically treatable. In such a case, your audiologist will refer you to your doctor with a view for Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon referral.
The consequences of not treating hearing loss vary according to the type of hearing loss. For the most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss – or “nerve deafness”, auditory deprivation is often seen in those who forgo the fitting of hearing aids for many years.
Auditory deprivation occurs when the auditory centres of the brain have not received appropriate input for so long that they “forget” how to hear. After long enough, sounds such as speech become permanently distorted and even hearing aids cannot be of any benefit.
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that does not come from your environment. While most people describe it as ringing, it can also be heard as buzzing, humming, thumping, static or pulsing.
The exact cause of tinnitus is unknown, however it is associated with hearing loss and may be one of the first signs of hearing damage. Tinnitus is often treatable through specialised devices or simply through behavior management and counselling.
The price of a hearing depends on many factors including:
- the degree and configuration of your hearing loss
- your lifestyle and communication needs
- the size and style of the hearing aid
Hearing aids can range from $2,000 to up to $12,000+ for a pair. There are a number of avenues for obtaining financial assistance to help with the cost of hearing aids.