We will give you a complete audiological evaluation

You are not alone with your hearing loss, and it’s not confined to the elderly.

“The most common long-term hearing disorder in Australia was complete or partial deafness, which affected 1 in 10 Australians.” (Australia’s Health 2016, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

We understand the frustrations and isolation of hearing loss. To constantly ask to have something repeated, not hear a warning siren, or the telephone, the doorbell, the sounds of family, life and laughter, all impact your quality of life. It can lead to social isolation, anxiety and depression.

Do I need a hearing test?

Give us a call. We will take your hearing history, examine your ears, diagnose your hearing, explain the solution, and discuss all your options, including the costs.

Having a hearing test does not mean that you must buy hearing aids, but it will give you an opportunity to talk about your needs, and get a clear picture of your next steps. The choice is always yours.

We can help you turn up your own volume to all those sounds which keep us safe, keep us in tune with the world around us.

What happens at a hearing test?

To evaluate your hearing status, we will start by asking you for a general history of your health, your hearing, and your environment, such as:

  • Has your hearing loss been gradual or sudden?
  • Is it in both ears?
  • Do you have pain or discharge from your ears?
  • Do you have a history of ear infections?
  • Have you suffered any head trauma?
  • Have you had any operations on your ears?
  • Do you have family members who are deaf, or have other hearing problems?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • Have you recently undergone anaesthetic?
  • Does your lifestyle expose you to excessive
    noise?
  • Were you in the military?
  • Does your occupation expose you to excessive
    noise?
  • What do you have the most difficulty hearing?

We will diagnose whether you can hear within the normal range and, if you cannot, we will determine which frequencies are affected – the high, middle or low range.

Ear Examination – Otoscopy

Your clinician will use an otoscope, a magnifier and torch, to look into your ears to check for any abnormalities in your ear canal and ear drum, any trauma or chronic infection, possible damage caused by using cotton buds; or for any buildup of wax or debris, which is common.

Diagnosis – Tympanometry

This quick test determines the pressure in your middle ear. Your clinician will place the small, soft plug of a tympanometer snugly into your ear canal. Changes in the machine’s pressure help us diagnose the movement/vibration of your eardrum and middle ear structures.

Pure Tone Audiometry

This is the traditional hearing test, and the results are shown on an audiogram. As you listen through headphones, each ear is tested separately. To establish your hearing threshold at various frequencies, and the point at which you can just hear a sound, we will ask you to respond to a series of tones at different pitches and volumes.

Click image to enlarge

This is a typical audiogram of hearing which gradually deteriorated as the person grew older, known as presbycusis (pronounced presba-queue-sis).

Pitch: along the bottom of the graph is the Frequency/Pitch, measured in Hertz (Hz). Like a piano’s keyboard, the frequencies are low on the left side and climb to higher tones or frequencies on the right.

Volume: down the left side is the Hearing Level/Volume, measured in decibels (dB). The top line represents a very soft sound, and the numbers successively represent louder sounds.
Normal hearing is defined as better than 20dB at all frequencies.

It is quite common for normal, low frequency hearing to progress to a severe loss at high frequencies, as shown in the graph.

Speech Discrimination Threshold

This test establishes how your brain processes the sounds of speech, the softest level at which you can hear someone speaking. We test each ear separately and at various volumes by playing lists of words through headphones, and we will ask you to repeat them. It helps us determine if an increase in volume improves your comprehension, and gives us a basic indication of whether hearing aids would help you.

How do we hear?

Click image to enlarge

Even before birth, we respond to sound.

Briefly, there are three main parts of the ear: the outer, middle and inner ear.

In the outer ear, sound waves travel along the ear canal and strike the eardrum, causing it to vibrate.

In the middle ear, the vibrations cause the tiny bones, ossicles, to also vibrate.

This, in turn, creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear (the snail-shaped cochlea), where 18,000 tiny “hair cells”, which would fit on the head of a pin, rock back and forth. They convert the vibration into an electrical signal which is sent along the auditory nerve to the brain. Your brain interprets those signals as sound.

Loud sounds, among other things, can bend or break those tiny hair cells, which do not regenerate, causing hearing loss and tinnitus.

This video is a good description of how we hear. If you cannot hear the video, it nevertheless gives you a good visual representation of how our hearing works.