What You Should Know About First Steps to Better Hearing

Nov 17, 2022GP News & Updates

Are there situations your patient’s wished they heard more clearly? If so, it’s time for them to get their hearing checked. Friends and family may be noticing the TV is creeping up in volume, or that your patient may be asking for a lot of repeats. This may create unnecessary frustration. It’s time for your patient to get their hearing checked and is particularly important if they have noticed any sudden or recent changes in their hearing, or they have some ringing in their ears. A hearing test is also vital if your patient works in or around loud or noisy environments.

1 in 6 Australians experience hearing loss and on average, it can take a person 7-10 years before they have their hearing checked by an audiologist. An undiagnosed and unmanaged hearing loss, can have far reaching effects on your quality of life, general health and overall wellbeing.

Changes to your patient’s hearing can be subtle, but the number one indicator for needing a hearing check is listening effort. Does your patient need to put in a lot of effort to listen? This can look different for every individual. They may find that they ask people to repeat themselves more often. They may notice that they have trouble being involved in normal conversations with their family or friends. Your patient may find noisy environments to be challenging and tiring. This is because it is now taking more listening effort for them to hear and comprehend the world around them. If your patient reports that they feel as though they need to strain or concentrate to hear, it is important that they have a hearing check to test their hearing acuity.

Having regular hearing checks is an essential step in maintaining overall health and wellbeing. Whether your patient notices a hearing loss or not, it is important for them to have their hearing checked every year to ensure their hearing is stable and they have not developed a hearing loss. Changes to our hearing can be subtle, gradual, and they can often go unnoticed as it is difficult to compare your hearing now, to what it was years ago if there has been no previous hearing test to benchmark your hearing. If your patient suspects that they may be experiencing a loss in their hearing, an audiologist can perform a diagnostic hearing test. This typically involves the audiologist looking into their ears to assess the ear canal and ear drum. The audiologist may also perform a test known as tympanometry, which will assess the middle ear system and how well the ear drum is moving. A hearing check often focuses on testing to see if your patient can hear four main pitches at different levels.

This hearing check can be important in understanding if your patient requires a more comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessment. Comprehensive hearing assessments involve a more thorough understanding of a person’s hearing health and history. The audiologist will investigate any important prior hearing history to assist with making a diagnosis regarding the cause of a person’s hearing concerns. The audiologist will also test your patient’s hearing acuity at many pitches between 125 Hz and 8000 Hz. This is performed with headphones over the ears, as well as a bone conductor that sits behind the ear to test inner ear hearing. Comprehensive assessments will involve a diagnostic report for the patient and the specialist, and may also include recommendations for other specialists they may need to visit.

With ten clinics situated across Melbourne, Victorian Hearing has a clinic near you with a team of professional, dedicated, university-trained audiologists ready to support your patient through a hearing check appointment. Your patient can arrange an appointment online by clicking here or by calling (03) 9558 8842.