Your hearing questions answered

If you have a question about hearing but don’t know where to turn, the experts at HEARINGLife have answered those queries most commonly asked.

1. What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss arises from problems with the inner ear and neural hearing loss and is associated with how the brain can interpret sounds.  Also called sensorineural hearing loss, it occurs when damage or trauma affects the nerve endings in the inner ear or along the nerve pathways to the brain. Such trauma can occur from overexposure to noise, the ageing process, use of certain medications and many other causes.

2. Are there different types of hearing loss?

Yes – there are two main types – conducive and sensorieneural.  Conducive hearing loss typically affects the middle or outer ear, is usually temporary and can sometimes be reduced or eliminated by medical intervention or surgery. Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear and is usually treated by the use of hearing aids.  

3. What are the causes of hearing loss?

The main causes of hearing loss are being born with hearing loss, infection or injury, age and prolonged loud noise and industrial deafness.

4. How can I tell if I have a hearing loss?

The first step to addressing hearing loss is a free initial consultation at a HEARINGLife clinic, including a hearing test. Or as a first step you can take an online hearing test.

5. Do I need to see a doctor if I think I have hearing loss?

Your doctor can perform a hearing screen or you could simply find a HEARINGLife clinic near you and get a free hearing test from a hearing professional.

6. How do I find a hearing professional?

To find a HEARINGLife clinic near you – use the clinic locator.

7. I suffer from tinnitus – will a hearing aid help?

Unfortunately, research has yet to discover a cure for tinnitus, however HEARINGLife hearing professionals concentrate on ‘management of the condition’ instead of treating the symptoms.  Sometimes fitting a hearing aid can help with the management of tinnitus as well as assist with hearing difficulty.

8. What age does hearing loss most commonly happen?

Hearing impairment is a condition affecting over three million Australians or one in every six people. Whilst as many as half the people over the age of 60 experience some form of hearing impairment, it is certainly not a condition confined to later life.

9. How much do Hearing Aids cost?

The price of a hearing aid varies depending on the model. If you haven’t already, please call HEARINGLife on 1300 308 125 to find out what types and options are best for you.

10. I am a pensioner can I get help with the cost of my hearing aids?

There are options avaiable to help fund the supply of a hearing aid. Please contact your nearest HEARINGLife clinic on to discuss the Government Hearing Scheme.

11. Are there different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids have changed dramatically over recent years thanks to micro technology. Hearing aids are getting smaller, smarter, more automatic, more reliable, more invisible and more comfortable. They are even able to wirelessly connect to your TV, and house or mobile phones.

12. How do I know which hearing aid will be best for me?

Your HEARINGLife clinician will go through the options with you and find a hearing aid that suits your hearing loss, your lifestyle and your budget. 

13. Can I get a small discreet hearing aid?

Yes some aids are so small now that they are practically invisible.  Digital technology has allowed even the smallest model hearing aids to be powerful and include advanced features such as multiple programs, directional microphones, feedback cancellation and noise reduction.

14. How will a hearing aid improve my life?

Research on people with hearing loss and their significant others has shown that hearing aids play a significant factor in a person’s social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.  Treatment of hearing loss has been shown to improve communication in relationships, intimacy, sense of control, social participation and emotional wellbeing.  

15. What else can I do to improve my hearing?

In addition to hearing aids, there are other devices known as assistive listening devices (ALDs), available to help you function better in particular situations. ALDs are often recommended if there are specific listening situations where a hearing aid alone may not be optimal. Some ALDs can be used in place of hearing aids and some can be used together.

There are a range of ALDs for personal use such as portable listening amplifiers, amplified fixed line and mobile phones, and alarms to alert users to critical sounds such as doorbells and babies crying and group use such as induction loop systems.  Hearing Life has a comprehensive range of personal use ALDs. Contact your nearest clinic for more information.

16. I have just had a hearing aid fitted but I am still having some problems hearing certain things – what can I do?

HEARINGLife clinicians will be ahppy to help work through any issues you’re having. Please contact your nearest clinic to book yourself in for a check up appointment.

17. I don’t think I have hearing loss but want to try and prevent it – what are some of the things I can do?

The most obvious way to protect your hearing is to avoid loud sounds.  Sudden and very loud sounds such as gunshot are particularly dangerous and hearing protection should be worn when exposed to these types of sounds.  If you regularly attend loud music events you should consider wearing ear plugs and limiting the time you spend in very noisy places.  Personal stereos should be set at a moderate level and you should avoid turning the volume up too high. 

18. What are some things my family can do to help me hear better?

Even with a hearing aid there are a few things you can do to make communication easier.  Here are some tips:
1. Gain attention of the person with hearing loss first
2. Be on the same level
3. Avoid background noise where possible
4. Speak slowly and clearly but don’t shout
5. Use simple, well-articulated words
6. Be understanding and repeat and rephrase as required

19. I have heard that certain painkillers can contribute to hearing loss – is this true?

Findings of a Harvard Medical School study which found that analgesic medicines could contribute to hearing loss in men, prompted a similar study into the relationship between these medicines and hearing loss in women. It was discovered that women who take ibuprofen or acetaminophen four or five days a week increase their risk of hearing loss by 21 per cent.  Taking the drugs two or three times a week increased the risk of hearing loss by 10 per cent over those who use them less than once a week. 

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology

20. Can I hear from someone who has benefitted from having hearing aids fitted?

On the HEARINGLife website you will find case studies from customers who have changed their lives by having hearing aids fitted.  You can find them here

21. Will wearing a hearing aid completely restore my hearing?

While no hearing aid will restore your hearing to normal (except in cases of very mild hearing loss), HEARINGLife has a range of hearing aids that are designed to significantly improve your hearing enabling you to hear soft sounds that you couldn’t hear before, but at the same time making sure that loud sounds are not uncomfortable for you.  They are also designed to improve your ability to understand speech, even in noisy environments.