What should I do if I suspect I have may have a hearing loss?

hearing loss

Do you find you don’t hear quite as well as you used too? Maybe people mumble, or you need to ask people to repeat themselves more often these days? In Australia, approximately 3.6 million people have some degree of hearing loss. This is expected to rise to an estimated 7.8 million people by 2060.1 While hearing loss is more prevalent in older people, it can occur at any age, and untreated hearing loss can have significant consequences on a person’s life. We encourage anyone who suspects they are not hearing as well as they used too, to have a hearing test so you can find out whether you have a hearing loss, and what you should do about it.

Signs of a Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can occur gradually over time and often people have had some degree of hearing loss for quite some time before they realise something is wrong. So, what are the signs of hearing loss? What should you look out for? Hearing loss can be different for every person but some of the early signs of hearing loss include:

  • Feeling like people are mumbling
  • Often needing to ask people to repeat themselves
  • Turning the TV or radio up
  • Receiving comments from other people that you are not hearing or not listening
  • Avoiding noisy environments because it is too hard to hear
  • Having difficulty following conversations in noisy environments or mishearing things.

If you have these signs, the only way to be sure of whether you have a hearing loss is to have your hearing properly assessed.

What Does a Hearing Assessment Involve?

When you have a hearing assessment, the exact tests the hearing care professional uses will depend on the situation, and what is clinically appropriate in your case. But generally, the assessment will begin with a discussion with you about your hearing, hearing health, family history, history of noise exposure and your general health. This provides your hearing care provider with information about your risk factors for hearing loss.

Your hearing care professional will then have a look in your ears to check for blockages in your ear canal, check your outer ear health, and evaluate the size and shape of your ear canal. The tests that follow will depend on the circumstances but will include a hearing test where you press a button or complete another action when you hear a sound, and a test where you repeat back words or sentences. It may also include a test where a device is put into your ear to vary the pressure and see how your eardrum moves. Once the assessment is completed, your hearing care professional will go through the results with you and explain what your options for next steps are.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by any one of several factors including illness, injury, genetics and wear and tear on your ears over time. Damage done to your ears over time is the most common cause of hearing loss as we get older. Damage to your ears over time from excessive noise is one of the most preventable forms of hearing loss. It is important to look after your ears and wear hearing protection when doing noisy activities.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have a Hearing Loss?

If you think you may have a hearing loss, the best place to start is to have a hearing test with your local independent hearing clinic. By seeing your local independent hearing clinic, not only can you be sure you will receive the best independent advice for your needs, but you are also supporting a business within your local community.

You can find your local independent hearing clinic, through Find My Hearing Clinic – Clinic Locator