Your Hearing

Your Hearing

When we lose our hearing, we lose the ability to be in touch with the world, friends and family. Let us help you reconnect.

Why is Hearing Important?

We use our hearing to connect us with the world. To communicate with people and to have a sense of being in the world. Our hearing allows us to experience a baby’s giggle, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and to feel the emotion of a musical masterpiece.

Hearing is a sense that doesn’t sleep. Our hearing also helps to keep us safe, alerting us to sounds such as alarms and even waking us when we hear an unfamiliar sound in the night. It helps tell us the location of a sound, whether it be the call of a loved one or the direction of traffic.

Signs of Hearing Loss

More often than not, hearing loss happens gradually with age and it can be difficult to know that the hearing loss has occurred. Often, other people will notice the signs of hearing loss before you do.

If you feel your hearing is not quite what it used to, then ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Are you unaware when the phone is ringing?
  • Are you constantly turning up the volume on the TV or your iPad?
  • Are you unsure which direction a sound is coming from?
  • Do you struggle to hear in noisy places?
  • Can’t hear the announcement at the train station or birds chirping in the park?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any or all of these questions, visit your closest Can:Do Hearing clinic for a hearing health check and we can work together to make life sound better.

We’re here to help.
Contact our friendly audiology team today.

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone for support, click on the links below and we will be able to help you.

Call us 08 8100 8209Contact us

The Ear

To understand the causes of hearing loss, it’s important to understand how the ear works. Our hearing system can be divided into three main parts: the external, middle and inner ears. These link to the brain via the cochlear nerve.

The outer ear consists of the pinna (the part visible on the outside of the head), ear canal and eardrum. The outer ear acts as a sound funnel and the canal wall produces cerumen (wax) which protects the ear, removing foreign bodies and germs from the ear canal and away from the eardrum.

The middle ear is an air-filled space containing a chain of 3 tiny bones (ossicles) called the malleus, incus and stapes. The malleus is the first bone in the ossicular chain. It is attached to the back of the eardrum on one end and to the incus on the other. The incus attaches to the stapes, which rests in the oval window of the inner ear.  The middle ear is connected to the back of the nose and throat via the Eustachian tube. This tube maintains equal air pressure between the middle ear and the air around us. The eardrum and the ossicular chain vibrate in response to sound waves entering the ear.

The inner ear consists of the cochlea, a small snail-shell-shaped organ set within the bone of the skull. The cochlea contains fluid and tiny hair cells which vibrate in response to the movements from the middle ear and stimulate thousands of nerve endings in the cochlear nerve. This nerve travels through the skull, carrying messages to the brain where sounds are perceived and interpreted. Along the way, other nerve pathways communicate with the auditory pathway to help us associate sounds with memories and emotions. The inner ear also contains the semi-circular canals, which contribute to one’s sense of balance.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss

There are 3 types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed.

A sensorineural loss is a permanent hearing loss.  It is commonly referred to as “nerve deafness”.  It occurs when the sensitive hair cells inside the inner part ear of the ear get damaged and no longer respond to sound in the way that they did previously.  Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are damage from noise exposure and the aging process.

A conductive hearing loss may be curable or may be permanent, conductive refers to the fact that the sound is not being sent through (conducted) the outer or middle ear properly on its way into the inner ear.  Typical causes of conductive loss include fluid in the middle ear from an ear infection, wax impaction in the ear canal and otosclerosis.

A mixed hearing loss occurs when a person has both a conductive and sensorineural loss at the same time.

After your consultation, should a loss be assessed, your Can:Do Hearing audiologist will be able to explain to you the type of loss you have.