1How do I know I have a hearing loss?

Loss of hearing is often a gradual process and therefore often not easily noticed. Hearing loss is invisible and more common than people think. In fact, one in six Australians has some degree of hearing loss. Some of the early warning signs of hearing loss are: you can hear but not understand; you find it hard to hear in noisy situations or groups of people; you think people mumble; you need turn the TV up louder than others or, you don't always hear the doorbell or the phone. To determine if you really do have a hearing loss, it is best to see a registered audiologist who can thoroughly assess your hearing levels and advise you of the best course of action.

2What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including excessive noise exposure, disease processes (such as in Meniere's disease or diabetes), exposure to ototoxic drugs that can damage the hearing mechanism, problems with movement of the middle ear bones (ossicles), middle ear infections and trauma. In many cases unfortunately, the cause of the hearing loss is unknown.

3Can my hearing loss be cured?

Some hearing losses are treatable especially if the outer or middle ear components are causing the hearing loss. A thorough hearing test followed by a visit to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist will give information on whether the hearing loss is treatable. Presently, there is no cure if the hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear and the tiny hearing hair cells or the hearing nerve. There is extensive research in this area and we will let you know as soon as any cure or re-growth of damaged parts of the hearing mechanism becomes available.

4Why is it important to get a licensed professional to look after my hearing and/or tinnitus?

A licensed professional such as an Audiologist has undergone at least five years of tertiary education to attain their certification. Not only are audiologists well versed in hearing testing and fitting of hearing aids, they have extensive knowledge of underlying disease pathology, brain functioning and hearing rehabilitation. Some audiologists have speciality areas such as hearing aid fittings, tinnitus treatment and implantable hearing devices as is the case with the audiologists at Specialist Hearing Services. All our audiologists are registered with the national Peak Professional Body – Audiology Australia and undergo training and involvement in professional development programs and conferences to ensure they keep at the forefront of technology and expertise.

5What is different about Specialist Hearing Services? Why should I see them instead of another provider?

Specialist Hearing Services is an Independent WA owned company belonging to the Independent Audiologists of Australia. Our level of commitment ensures that our clients have trust in us and feel valued. Many of the hearing clinics in Australia are owned by large multi-national hearing aid manufacturers. These clinics endorse only the one brand of hearing aid which means at the end of the day that the consumer has limited choice. We supply and expertly fit hearing aids from all of the major manufacturers.

We are very competitive with our pricing. While we do not advertise our prices, we are happy to give you a quote after an appointment.

We are also involved in ongoing research projects such as the national tinnitus treatment program for ex-servicemen, implantable hearing device research and also collect and present data on the service we deliver and the outcomes attained.

We aim for and achieve excellence as testified by our satisfied clients.

6Why bother with hearing aids? Many people I know who have them don't wear them anyway.

Research by the National Council on the Aging in the United States, on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss as well as their significant others, demonstrated that hearing aids are associated with impressive improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people with hearing loss in all hearing loss categories from mild to severe. Hearing loss treatment was shown to improve:

  • Earning power
  • Communication in relationships
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Ease in communication
  • Emotional stability
  • Sense of control over life events
  • Perception of mental functioning
  • Physical health

Hearing aids are not a quick fix and adjusting to hearing aids for many people takes at least a few days or longer if the hearing loss has been present for a long period of time. Getting the hearing aid fitting right may take a few visits to the Audiologist. Perservering with the hearing aids is worthwhile and wearing them as much as possible will allow your brain the maximum chance to adapt to the new sound.

As technology and aesthetics have improved, there are many people who have unsuccessfully tried hearing aids in the past who are now enjoying the listening benefits that hearing aids offer.

7Why should I get two hearing aids instead of just the one?

If you have hearing loss in both ears, then in most cases, you will do better with two hearing aids. Just as having two eyes is better than having one, having two ears receiving sounds and speech is better than just the one ear. Extensive research has shown that people wearing two hearing aids can understand speech better than if they are wearing only the one aid both in quiet and in noisy situations. Hearing with two ears (binaural hearing), allows you to detect more easily the direction of incoming sounds and speech and gives a more balanced, pleasant sound. Binaural hearing also allows you to hear more distant sounds and will keep both ears stimulated. For many people, experiencing tinnitus (noises in the ears or head), wearing binaural hearing aids will suppress the tinnitus more effectively than the one aid. Research with more than 5,000 people with hearing loss in both ears demonstrated that binaurally fit people are more satisfied than people wearing just the one hearing aid.

The benefit of being able to "test drive" hearing aids through Specialist Hearing Services, means that you can determine for yourself if two hearing aids are better than one for you.

8Do hearing aids come with a warranty period? Do I need to insure my hearing aids?

New hearing aids come with a 2 or 3 year warranty. You may wish to purchase a longer warranty period and can do so with some hearing aid models. You can discuss the hearing aid warranty period with your Audiologist.

Hearing aid warranties may not always cover lost hearing aids or damage to the hearing aids that are not due to the manufacturer. You can insure your hearing aids with your home and contents insurers or, there are now companies that provide insurance specifically for hearing aids. Talk to the friendly staff at Specialist Hearing Services to find out more.

9Will Specialist Hearing look after me after I'm fitted with hearing aids or undergo the tinnitus treatment program?

Yes. Once you purchase the hearing aids, all follow-up visits for three months after the hearing aids are fitted are included at no charge. If you feel your hearing has changed or your hearing aids are not working optimally, you may require a repeat hearing test or cleaning or fine-tuning of the hearing devices.

The Neuromonics Tinnitus Program involves regular visits especially in the first few months. These are all included when you commit to the program.

10I've heard you can buy hearing aids on the internet or through mailing services and that it's much cheaper. Is this true?

Yes it is true, however, hearing aids cannot be fitted properly without you physically present. The proper fitting of hearing aids requires precise measurement of your individual ear. The money you save on the purchase of the hearing aids will be offset by the cost of appointments you will need to fine-tune the aids. Many hearing clinics will refuse to fine-tune or adjust aids purchased on the net. It is easy for Hearing Clinics to track aids that have been purchased through the internet.

11I have a hearing loss and I have persevered with hearing aids and I still can't hear. Everything is not clear no matter what hearing aids I try. What can I do?

You may be a candidate for a surgically implantable hearing solution such as a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that restores partial hearing to the deaf. It is surgically implanted in the inner ear and activated by a device worn outside the ear. If you want to know if you are a candidate for an implantable hearing solution, talk to the staff at Specialist Hearing Services