Hearing Aids

 

Hearing aids Benefits: Most people with a hearing loss will benefit from significantly improved communication and will be able to confidently return to a full and active lifestyle. With a hearing device, most people can hear their family and friends more easily and enjoy being in group conversations without asking people to repeat themselves all the time. They can watch TV at a normal volume, hear warning signals and more easily participate in phone conversations.

Quality of life suffers when hearing impairment is left untreated. Hearing assistance improves quality of life and reduces the negative impact of hearing loss.

Hearing Aids Improve Quality of Life

Studies show that people with hearing problems who did not wear a device were more likely to report sadness and depression, anxiety, paranoia, emotional problems, insecurity, and reduced social activities.

Studies also found that people whose hearing loss was treated reported significant improvements in their quality of life including the following:

 

  • General improvement in their quality of life

  • Improved relationships with their families

  • Greater independence and security

  • Better self-esteem / self-confidence

  • Improved mental health

  • Reducing the risk of auditory deprivation

Oticon Ruby

Hearing Aids Prevent Auditory Deprivation

Another benefit is preserving the quality of your hearing and reducing the risk of auditory deprivation. As a result of a continued lack of sound stimulation, auditory deprivation, the brain gradually loses some of its ability to process information including speech.

Auditory deprivation most often occurs when the ear goes unaided over a long period of time – so the earlier you start, the better your chances are of minimizing this risk.

The most important function of hearing devices is to compensate for your hearing loss so that you can overcome your hearing difficulties.

Talk to an Audiologist

Speak to one of our Audiologists in Melbourne to find out what steps you need to take to find the best hearing aid for you.

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Hearing Aids Frequently Asked Questions

How do hearing aid devices work?

Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds through a 3 step process:

  1. Sound is detected by the microphones on the hearing aids
  2. Sounds are analysed, adjusted and amplified appropriately by the processor within the hearing aid
  3. The adjusted sound is sent to the speaker and transmitted through the ear canal to the auditory system

Regardless of size and style, all hearing aids follow this step by step process. How effectively a hearing aid can follow this process to manage noise, improve speech clarity and increase the signal to noise ratio is dependent on the level of the technology within the hearing aid.

How much do hearing aid devices cost in Australia?

Today, hearing aids prices can range from approximately $1,000 to $6,000 each, depending on the degree of technology selected. Several factors contribute to the cost of hearing aids, including research and development, customization of each hearing aid to fit the needs of the wearer, manufacturing costs, and time spent with the professional who selects, fits, programs, adjusts and services the instruments.

If you are a pensioner or holder of a Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card, you may be eligible for government subsidies that can provide additional assistance when purchasing hearing aids. Dependents of one of these cardholders may also be eligible. Additionally, if you have private health insurance, your fund may be able to contribute to the cost of your hearing aids depending on the level of cover you have.

How to choose a hearing aid device?

With so many manufacturers and styles available, choosing the right hearing aid for you can be an overwhelming process. That’s why the best way to choose a hearing device is with the help and support of a trusted audiologist. A good audiologist takes into account not only your hearing levels, but your lifestyle, personal concerns and budget to guide you to an informed decision. To learn about the factors which need to be consider when choosing a hearing aid go to: https://earandhearing.com.au/hearing-aids/how-to-choose/

How to find a hearing aid near me?

Hearing aids can be purchased online, from clinics owned by manufacturers or from independent clinics. The outcomes received highly dependent on how well the hearing aids are selected and fitted. Quality of the fitting and the ongoing aftercare are the most important factors. To receive unbiased advice, find audiologist clinics which are not part of a manufacture. Making sure your audiologist not receiving bonuses or incentives ensures an unbased prescription. Ear and Hearing Australia is an independent practice specialised In fitting the latest hearing devices with 14 clinics in Melbourne. To find an Ear & Hearing clinic near click here.

How to find the best hearing aid for you

The best hearing aid is the one that meets your unique personal needs. That includes your hearing needs, lifestyle, budget and personal concerns. The best way to find the right hearing aid is to work closely with a trusted and supportive audiologist who can take all these factors into account to help you find a device that suits your unique situation. And keep in mind that the best hearing aids are as good as how professionally they are selected and fitted. Therefore, while researching for the best hearing aids, look around for the best audiologist who can give you unbiased professional advice. Look for someone who can fit and optimise your hearing aids well and provide you with the best after care support.

Who needs a hearing aid?

Gone are the days where hearing aids were associated with those with grey hair and wrinkles! With greater awareness of the importance of ear health and hearing, people are having their hearing tested sooner and sooner. This is just as well, as hearing loss unfortunately does not discriminate based on age and people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly can benefit from hearing aids.

Even mild hearing losses can have a significant impact on one’s lifestyle and wellbeing. Job performance, relationships, safety and general health can all be compromised by the presence of an unmanaged hearing loss. Unfortunately, on average it takes up to 7 years for a person to act upon their hearing loss from the time of noticing it to the point where they attend a hearing assessment. That’s 7 years of asking for repeats, misunderstanding instructions, missing the punch line and exhausting your brain while trying to listen!

The sooner a hearing loss is managed the greater the positive outcomes. So if you or your loved ones have noticed any changes in the way you hear and listen, do not hesitate to book in for a comprehensive hearing assessment. Should you need further management through hearing aids our qualified and supportive audiologists are ready to assist you.

Which hearing aid device is the best?

A Common question with no clear answer! With so many hearing aid types, brands and styles at different technology levels it can be overwhelming for clients to decide on a definitive ‘best’ device. A better question to ask would be not “which hearing aid is the best”, but “which hearing aid is best for me?”

For example, when deciding on a car, objectively, a sports car would be the ‘best’ type of car to purchase. Fast, luxurious and expensive. It is objectively the ‘best’ type of car. However, not everyone wants to drive fast and not everyone wants a car for show. If you live in the Australian outback, a sports car will not get you where you want to go! Therefore, the best car brand would be the one that suits you and your environment. Likewise, the ‘best’ hearing aid is determined by how well it suits you and your lifestyle.

The role of an audiologist is to guide you to the best hearing aid for you, not just the best hearing aid on the market. An independent audiologist who is open, honest and practical about your personal desires and concerns will always guide you to the best decision. To read our audiologists reviews on the best hearing aids in the market go to: Our Latest Reviews

Which hearing aid brand is the best in Australia?

A widely asked question with no clear answer! With so many hearing aid manufacturers and constant innovation in hearing aid technology it can be overwhelming not only for clients but also audiologists to decide on a definitive ‘best’ manufacturer. A better question to ask would be not “which hearing aid brand is the best in Australia”, but “which hearing aid brand is the best for me at the time?”

Generally speaking, the best brands are the ones which offer the best reliability features and back ups when repairs are required. Some hearing aid brands can only be reprogrammed and adjusted by limited number of providers in Australia while the more common brands can be programmed, adjusted and repaired anywhere in the world! Some of these top brands are Oticon, Phonak, Siemens, GNResound, Signia, Widex and Unitron.

Although it is important to select your hearing aids from one of these good brands, the choice of best hearing aids for you comes to the required features for you at the best value point at the time. Therefore the ‘best’ hearing aids determined not by the brand but how well it suits you and your lifestyle.

The role of an audiologist is to guide you to the best hearing aid for you, not just the best hearing aid on the market. To ensure you receive unbiased advice, always consult an independent audiologist who is not aligned with a particular manufacture. An audiologist who is open, honest and practical about your personal desires and concerns will always guide you to the best decision.

Can hearing aids cause vertigo?

If fitted professionally hearing aids should not cause vertigo. The hearing system and the vestibular (balance) system are both located within the ear but follow independent pathways. Although some balance disorders can affect hearing, the use of hearing aids is not linked to increased risk of balance difficulties.

Occasionally new, inexperienced hearing aid users may report being tired or overwhelmed after full time use of their devices, at the start. This is completely normal, as the brain adjusts to hearing sounds at their full volume for the first time in months or even years!

If you experience vertigo while using hearing aids, discuss it with your audiologist. Your audiologist may perform some audiological tests to help determining the need for further medical investigations or treatments.

Can hearing aids cause ear infections?

In cases with intact eardrums, hearing aids cannot directly cause ear infections. The most common type of ear infection is known as a middle ear infection (otitis media) and occurs behind the eardrum. As even the deepest hearing aid fitting sits in front of the ear drum within the ear canal, it cannot cause infections in the middle ear space.

In cases with ruptured ear drums, however, there is a risk of infection if certain hearing aids are used. That is why it is important that your candidacy for the hearing aids is checked by an audiologist first. A professional audiologist ensures that the type of hearing aids you use would not cause any medical issues.

If you experience any ear pain or ear discharge following a hearing aid use consult your audiologist before you continue using your hearing aids.

Can hearing aids affect your balance?

No, hearing aids can not affect your balance negatively. The hearing system and the vestibular (balance) system are both located within the ear but follow independent pathways. Although some balance disorders can affect hearing, the use of hearing aids is not linked to increased risk of balance difficulties.

Occasionally new, inexperienced hearing aid users may report being tired or overwhelmed after full time use of their devices. This is completely normal, as the brain adjusts to hearing sounds at their full volume for the first time in months or even years!

On the other hand, it is shown than better hearing with professionally fitted hearing aids can reduce the risk of falls in elderlies which may be related to improved balance when hearing loss is corrected.

Can hearing aids make tinnitus worse?

Providing the hearing aids are fitted professionally, it is unlikely that the use of hearing aids will make your tinnitus worse. In fact, hearing aids are a popular treatment option when managing tinnitus that works by increasing meaningful auditory stimulation to the brain, making your tinnitus less noticeable.

If you believe that your hearing aids are making your tinnitus worse, then you may need to have them re-adjusted. Changes in hearing levels over time can mean that you are not getting the right level of sound stimulation causing your tinnitus to appear louder than before.

Can hearing aids get wet?

No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing aids should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.

Most hearing aids are “water resistant” and come with an IP68 rating. This means that they can withstand small amounts of moisture including light rain or a small splash. However, a hearing aid is still a delicate electronic object. Consistent exposure to moisture can lead to corrosion and damage inside the device. This can result in inconsistent sound performance and costly repairs.

The best way to ensure your hearing aid is functioning optimally in the face of moisture is to keep them as dry as possible during use, wipe them down with a dry tissue every evening (or more often if necessary!) and to keep them away from moist, steamy environments, such as the bathroom. You may also find additional benefit from the use of a specialised electronic drying kit which can dry both the outside and inside of your hearing devices.

Can I swim with a hearing aid device?

No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.

Can I take a shower with a hearing aid?

No! There are no truly waterproof hearing aids! Hearing should not be submerged or deliberately exposed to water.

Can hearing aids cause headache?

Wearing hearing aids does not directly cause headaches. However, it can take time for the brain to adjust to the new, amplified sound signals it is receiving from the hearing aids. New, inexperienced hearing aid users may feel tired after their first few days of full-time hearing aid use. This is natural as the brain is detecting and often re-learning sounds in the environment around it. As the brain adapts to its new auditory environment, you’ll feel less tired and more immersed in the environment around you.

Can hearing aids be repaired?

Yes, hearing aids can be repaired. In most cases, hearing aids can be repaired in clinic after a qualified audiologist has performed a thorough check of the devices. If the device requires specialised assessment, the audiologist will send the aids through to their specific manufacturer for service and repair. Depending on the repair performed, costs may vary. If your aids are still within their warranty period, the repair itself will not attract a fee, however your audiologist may still charge for handling the repair as well as for re-programming of the aids, should it be necessary

If your hearing aids cannot be repaired, we will be notified by the manufacturer that the devices are ‘damaged beyond repair’. In these situations, your hearing aids may be replaced through your home and content (or your travel) insurance if you have insured them.

Why hearing aid is so expensive?

Hearing aids are not just amplifiers, they are technological marvels that have evolved to their current level of performance and style over hundreds of years. To get to this point, hearing aid manufacturers invest large amounts of time and money into research and development to better their aids every year and ensure that the consumer receives the best outcomes possible. Although these days electronic goods are plentiful, hearing aids still represent a niche market. A lower demand for hearing aids compared to other electronics like TVs or mobile phones, naturally lends itself to higher prices.

Additionally, hearing aids are not ‘plug and play’ devices. Attention and care must be given to program each hearing device to the specific client’s hearing loss and preferences. Simply making sounds louder is not enough, as hearing aids need to be able to improve speech signals without compromising on comfort or introducing unwanted background noise. The time and attention given by the audiologist to ensure you have a top-quality hearing aid fitting and consistent aftercare is also factored into the cost of the devices. That is why the price of a same hearing aid may wary significantly based on the way is fitted and based on the level of after fitting care received.

There are several ways to manage the cost of a hearing aid investment. If you are a pensioner or DVA card holder, you may be eligible for government subsidies of up to $1500 on your hearing aid purchase including access to maintenance programs and discounts on additional accessories. If you have private health cover with extras, be sure to enquire with your provider as many health funds offer hearing aid rebates. Additionally, at Ear and Hearing we offer payment plans to break down the cost of your devices to more manageable portions.

When weighing up the value of a hearing aid, it is important to remember that a hearing aid purchase is at least a 4 to 5-year investment into the quality of your hearing. Your device will be used daily for 8+ hours, constantly surveying your environment and processing sound in real time to ensure that you are always keeping up with the conversation, never missing the punchline of the joke, hearing laughter, enjoying your favourite shows and engaging with the world to the fullest extent. To some this is priceless, and the improvement to your quality of life should be one of the defining factors in your decision to purchase hearing aids.

When you take into consideration how using hearing aids can help preserving the quality of your hearing by providing constant healthy stimulation to your brain and how they can reduce the speed of your memory and cognition decalin, you would see the investment a wise one.

Will a hearing aid help vertigo?

There is little evidence to support that hearing aids can have a direct effect on vertigo. However, some people may find that the use of hearing aids can have an indirect positive effect on their vertigo by improving the balance of their hearing. By establishing better balance of the sound input coming to both ears, hearing aid users with vertigo may feel an improvement in their vertigo as a result of greater awareness and balanced input of their surrounding environment.

Will a hearing aid help watching TV?

A hearing aid can definitely help with watching TV. Hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds in your surroundings to a level that is appropriate for your hearing loss. Most hearing aids come with on board controls to raise or lower volume to your own personal desire. Additionally, some hearing aids have mobile phone apps which can be used to make sound adjustments without having to touch the hearing aids themselves. No more arguments about the TV being too loud!

Additionally, some hearing aids have compatible TV accessories which can allow you to stream the sound of the television directly to your hearing aids, turning them into a Bluetooth headset. Using a TV accessory with your hearing aids means that you will still be able to hear the people around you ensuring that you can still keep up with the conversation in the room and be aware of your surroundings.

Will a hearing aid help to listen to music?

A hearing can definitely help with listening to music. Hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds in your surrounding to a level that is appropriate to your hearing loss. So whether you are listening to music through a radio, over ear headphones or a live performance, you should notice an improvement in your ability enjoy your music.

If you have hearing aids that are Bluetooth compatible, you can even stream audio from compatible electronic devices such as mobile phones or laptops, effectively turning your hearing aids into a Bluetooth headset! Different manufacturers offer different device compatibility, so be sure to check with your audiologist to find out whether your hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible.

Hearing aid or cochlear implant?

The modern hearing has been adapted to suit a wide range of hearing losses from mild to profound. However, sometimes even the most powerful hearing aid can no longer provide the benefit that a client wants.

Both hearing aids and cochlear implants work by sending auditory information down the auditory pathway. In order for a signal to be sent to the brain, nerve fibres in the inner ear need to be stimulated sufficiently. Where a hearing aid stimulates the nerve fibres acoustically and relies on vibrations, a cochlea implant directly stimulates the nerve fibres with electrical impulses. Although cochlea implants can be fitted for even moderate hearing losses, as the process involves a surgical procedure, hearing aids are usually the first treatment option selected.

The choice between a hearing aid and cochlea implant is a very significant one. If you are considering a cochlear implant it is strongly recommended that you have a conversation with your audiologist to assess your history and current hearing situations, to determine whether further referral is appropriate.

Hearing aid or surgery?

There are two types of surgeries to improve hearing. The first involves the use of a cochlea implant and is recommended for those with hearing losses in which conventional hearing aids are no longer providing enough benefits (usually those with profound losses). It works by sending electrical impulses via an implanted electrode array in the inner ear to the auditory nerve directly.

The second type of surgery involves the use of a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA). A BAHA device is recommended for those with outer or middle ear problems that prevents the use of conventional hearing aids and the normal passage of sound to the inner ear. It works by transmitting sound vibrations to the inner ear via an implantable device in the mastoid bone.

For both surgeries, candidacy is critical. Before any surgery options are considered, it is important to have a discussion with your audiologist regarding whether there is a hearing aid available that may be able to help your situation. It is strongly encouraged for anyone interested in surgical options to trial hearing aids first before exploring surgery. If hearing aids do not provide meaningful outcomes, your audiologist will be able to assist you with the referral pathway.

Can you use a hearing aid with a cochlear implant?

Yes, you can use a hearing aid with a cochlear implant. This is called bimodal hearing and involves wearing a cochlear implant on one ear and a hearing aid on the other. People who use bimodal hearing, report better outcomes than hearing aid or cochlear implant use alone, including improvements in speech understanding in noise, localisation and a more natural hearing experience. Recently, some hearing aid manufacturers have introduced Bluetooth compatible hearing aids that can also be synced to a compatible cochlear implant allowing seamless audio streaming from mobile devices to both of your ears, despite the difference in technology!

As with most significant life changes, there is a learning curve when introducing yourself to bimodal hearing. However, with time, effort, patience, and a good audiologist guiding you through any hurdles, better outcomes for your quality of life can be achieved

Invisible hearing aid

In recent years, demand for more discrete hearing aids has increased. Most manufacturers offer Invisible in Canal (IIC) hearing aids which are custom made to fit your ear canal precisely. These aids are often referred to on the market as “invisible” as they are very hard to visually detect from a mere glance at the ear. IIC hearing aids require battery change and cleaning just like other styles of hearing aids and will need to be taken out at night for a comfortable sleep or to avoid contact with water. With the devices buried more deeply into the ear canal, it is imperative to stay on top of any wax build ups as soon as they occur.

For those looking for an invisible hearing aid with little to no management, the Lyric hearing aid may be the right solution. These devices are fitted deeply into the ear canal by a qualified audiologist using a microscope. Once inside the ear, the devices do not need to be removed for activities such as showering and sleeping, and do not require any further maintenance including battery change. The devices are expected to last 2-3 months before requiring removal and refitting at your audiology practice. Lyric hearing aids are considered the only truly “invisible” hearing aid on the market at the moment.

It is important to note that the above-mentioned styles of hearing aids are not suitable for everyone. Factors such as size and length of the ear canal, type of hearing loss and medical contraindications may rule out the possibility of using an in the ear style hearing aid.

When is the time to get a hearing aid?

The best time for a hearing aid is not defined by your age. Our brains are very good at adapting to slow change, and as hearing drops slowly over time, we often wait until our hearing is at a debilitating level before taking action as we don’t see ourselves to be “old enough” for hearing aids. In fact it can take up to 7 years between someone noticing a hearing problem and coming in for their first assessment!

The best time to get a hearing aid is at the first signs of hearing loss. This can include feeling like you’re missing out on the details of conversation, assuming others are mumbling, difficulty hearing clearly amongst background noise and putting in more and more effort to concentrate while listening. The effects of a hearing loss are often more obvious to our loved ones than ourselves so if your friends or family have noticed you asking for repeats more often or mishearing conversation, take their word for it and book yourself in for a comprehensive hearing assessment.

Which hearing aid batteries are the best in Australia?

The best hearing aid batteries are the ones you can find at your audiology clinic. Your audiology clinic will ensure that the batteries supplied to you are of the highest quality and value.

Why is my hearing aid makes noise?

It is first important to define what ‘noise’ is. Is your hearing aid whistling? This is likely a feedback due to the amplified sound leakage caused by poor insertion or the presence of ear wax in the canal. Is your hearing aid crackling? There may be a problem with the internal components of your aid requiring repair. Are you hearing too much background noise? Your aid may need in clinic re-adjustment and reprogramming.

If you’re unsure about what the cause of the ‘noise’ may be, it is best to see your audiologist for assessment of your devices. An audiologist can help verify the problem and ensure the appropriate action is taken.

Why is my hearing aid squealing/whistling?

The most common cause of squealing is due to poor insertion of the hearing aid. Your hearing aids should sit deeply within the ear canal without causing discomfort. A quick check in the mirror or by a family member can alert you to the position of your hearing aid in your ear. If you wear a behind the ear style aid, make sure that your dome is pushed in as deeply as possible without causing discomfort. If you use a mould, make sure the mould is seated neatly in the crevices of the ear. For those who use ‘in the ear’ devices, make sure that your device is inserted the right way up and pushed in deeply without causing discomfort.

The second most common cause of squealing is due to the presence of wax in the ear canal. Hearing aids are very sensitive devices and sometimes very subtle changes in the internal environment of your ear, such as wax, can cause the aid to start whistling. If this is the case, see your audiologist for wax removal service – do not attempt to remove any wax by yourself!

If you’re still having trouble or the whistling is continuous, please see your audiologist for further recommendations.

Why did my hearing aid stop working?

Hearing aids can stop working for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons include blockages of the external speaker and microphone systems. A simple round of maintenance at home or by your trusted audiologist can have your hearing aids working again in no time.

In more severe cases, corrosion and moisture can cause damage to internal parts of your hearing aids. Your audiologist may wish to send your hearing aids to the manufacturer for repair and maintenance. If your hearing aids are still within their warranty period, all repairs are free of charge.

If your hearing aids don’t seem to have any obvious signs of blockage or damage, consider having a comprehensive hearing assessment. Wax blockages in the ear canal or middle ear fluid and/or infection can make your hearing aid seem like it isn’t working and may need to be dealt with prior to any servicing

What are the different sizes of hearing aid batteries?

No! There are 4 main sizes of hearing aid batteries. Each size has a universal colour coding as listed below:
Size 312 – brown
Size 13 – orange
Size 10 – yellow
Size 675 – blue

If you’re unsure about what size hearing aid batteries you’re using, get in touch with your audiology clinic.

Are hearing aid batteries lithium?

Hearing aid batteries do not contain lithium, however may contain other heavy metals such as mercury and silver, elements which are unsafe if ingested and cause lethal poisoning if left untreated.

If you are concerned that someone you know may have swallowed a hearing aid battery, seek emergency medical advice immediately by calling 000

Are hearing aid domes interchangeable?

Hearing aid domes are interchangeable! Most hearing aids come with a packet of 8-10 domes to start you off. Domes can be changed as often or as little as you like, however most domes can last up to 8-12 months before needing to be changed.

Are hearing aid batteries free for pensioners?

If you are a pensioner, hearing aid batteries are covered under the Batteries and Maintenance Scheme offered by the federal government. The scheme is optional to participate in and attracts an annual fee of $47.50 (subject to annual change). While on the scheme, you are covered for any batteries and additional servicing required for your hearing aid to function optimally. We highly recommend all our pensioner clients take out the scheme as it not only covers most consumables but may also cover minor hearing aid repairs!

Hearing aid and glasses

Hearing aids can be worn with glass es – it just takes a bit of practice! The best way to position your hearing aids and glasses is to ensure that the arms of your glasses are located between your head and your hearing aids. That is, your glasses are closer to the side of your head than your hearing aids.
If you’re still having trouble, book in for a quick check up with your audiologist who can help your practice the best positioning.

Hearing aid and headphones

When choosing headphones to use with your hearing aids, opt for over the ear styles that completely cover the outer ear. This ensures that the hearing aid microphone will be in the best position to receive sound from the headphone.

In ear headphones are not compatible with over the ear hearing aids. This is because the microphone for the hearing aids is located behind the ear whereas the sound from the headphone is being transmitted into the ear canal directly, hence not being detected or amplified by the aid at all. Some in the ear hearing aids can be used with in ear headphones however the chance of feedback, discomfort and poor sound quality is greatly increased.

If you have recently purchased hearing aids, your devices may be Bluetooth compatible! This means that you can stream media and calls from your compatible mobile device directly to your hearing aids, effectively turning them into headphones! If you would like to find out if your hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible, please get in touch with your audiologist.

Who is the best hearing aid provider in Melbourne?

The best hearing aid provider is the one who can match your unique hearing needs and lifestyle to a hearing aid while balancing your budget, cosmetic concerns and other factors. At Ear and Hearing, all of our audiologists operate under the principles of patient centred care, ensuring that you are informed of all of your management options and are an active participant in your hearing care decisions. We are proudly independent and are not aligned with any hearing aid manufacturers, giving you the peace of mind that our advice will always be in your best interests.

Which hearing aid is best for or helps tinnitus?

All types of hearing aids can be helpful for your tinnitus (if you can benefit from sound therapy, which usually is the case). This is because all hearing aids are designed to amplify external sounds and stimulate the hearing pathway. This shifts the brain’s focus from internal, somatic sounds to the more important external environment, reducing the presence of your tinnitus.

Some hearing aids also include tinnitus features to help mask the sound of tinnitus during the daytime when a hearing aid is worn. These special masking sounds can provide additional relief without cutting off sound from the external world. It is best to chat with your audiologist to decide whether additional tinnitus features are right for you.

Can hearing aids help tinnitus?

Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is caused by inadequate stimulation of the hearing pathway, resulting in abnormal neural activity which causes the perception of sound known as tinnitus. A hearing aid can help minimise ringing by amplifying external sounds and allowing the hearing pathway to be adequately stimulated. This shifts the brain’s focus from internal, somatic sounds to the more important external environment, reducing the presence of your tinnitus.

It is important to know that tinnitus does not have an on/off switch. Everyone experiences tinnitus to some degree throughout their lifetime. However, by managing the loudness of the tinnitus through hearing aids, you can start to gain a better sense of control and empowerment.

Can hearing aids be recycled?

Hearing aids can be recycled! There are many hearing aid banks across Melbourne that you can donate your unused hearing aids to. All you need to do is get in contact with your local audiologist or a hearing aid bank and ask how to donate. By donating you are empowering disadvantaged people to take control of their hearing and their lives through the power of sound.

When a hearing aid is required?

The best time for a hearing aid is not defined by your age. Our brains are very good at adapting to slow change, and as hearing drops slowly over time, we often wait until our hearing is at a debilitating level before taking action as we don’t see ourselves to be “old enough” for hearing aids. In fact it can take up to 7 years between someone noticing a hearing problem and coming in for their first assessment!

The best time to get a hearing aid is at the first signs of hearing loss. This can include feeling like you’re missing out on the details of conversation, assuming others are mumbling, difficulty hearing clearly amongst background noise and putting in more and more effort to concentrate while listening. The effects of a hearing loss are often more obvious to our loved ones than ourselves so if your friends or family have noticed you asking for repeats more often or mishearing conversation, take their word for it and book yourself in for a comprehensive hearing assessment.

When was the hearing aid invented?

The first electrical hearing aid was invented in the late 1800s following the invention of the telephone. Hailed as a ‘miracle of science’ the first design was large enough to sit on a table and even after its redesign weighed over 1.5kgs!

Throughout the early to mid 1900s, efforts were made to make the hearing aid more portable. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s, with the invention of the microprocessor did hearing aids start to take on the form that we know of now. In 1995 the Oticon Company developed the first commercial fully digital hearing aid, but was only distributed to research centres. One year later, the Widex Senso became the first commercially successful, fully digital hearing aid available to the public.

Hearing aids continue to make phenomenal leaps in technology. Manufacturers continue to invest in smaller, faster and smarter processing chips and are continuously developing new features to make the users’ listening experience as natural and personalised as possible. Nowadays, most hearing aids have the capacity for Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeability, automated feature change and even tap controls, allowing the devices to integrate seamlessly into our lives.

Where are hearing aid batteries sold?

Hearing aid batteries are supplied at audiology clinics all over Melbourne, including Ear and Hearing Australia. It is always best for you to return to your audiologist to ensure you receive high quality batteries that are suitable for your device.

Where to buy a hearing aid?

Hearing aids can be purchased at audiology clinics across Melbourne, including us here at Ear and Hearing Australia. We are a 100% independent clinic and are not aligned with any hearing aid manufacturer. Instead, we give you unbiased advice for your hearing needs and offer you the most appropriate hearing solutions. Additionally, all our hearing aids are fit on a trial basis, to ensure that you are 100% comfortable and confident with your investment.

Where to get a hearing aid consultation?

You can have a hearing aid consultation at any of our Ear and Hearing clinics. Before any consultation, our qualified audiologists will perform an assessment of your hearing and listening through a range of tests. They will then go through comprehensive assessment of your hearing needs and lifestyle, addressing any and all concerns along the way. Finally, our audiologists will give you a recommendation on how to best manage your hearing needs and concerns. As all our clinics are proudly independent, you can have the peace of mind that our advice will always be in your best interests

Why was the hearing aid invented?

The first iteration of the hearing aid was invented in 1895 by Miller Reese Hutchinson. Hutchinson was a trained engineer but took an interest in the ear and hearing after his childhood friend went deaf from scarlet fever. His invention was so large it needed to sit on a table and even after it was re-designed, it still weighed over 1.5kgs!

Like the hearing aids of today, the main purpose of Hutchinson’s hearing aid was to amplify signals in the external environment, so that a strong, meaningful signal reached the end user. Thankfully, compared to Hutchinson’s first design, today’s hearing aids are light, portable and are packed with hundreds of features designed to seamlessly integrate into our daily lives.

Are hearing aid batteries tax-deductible in Australia?

Hearing aid batteries are not tax-deductible as per the Australian Tax Office.

Are hearing aid batteries covered by health insurance?

Benefits paid towards hearing aid batteries will depend upon your level of cover and the health fund that you are with. You will need to contact your health insurance directly to find out whether they cover hearing aid batteries.

Are hearing aid batteries recyclable?

Hearing aid batteries are recyclable however, must be handed into the appropriate processing facility to ensure that they are not placed in landfill. The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative website can guide you to companies which take hearing aid batteries for recycling. Alternatively, you can contact your local council of community recycling facility to discuss your options.

Unfortunately, Ear and Hearing are currently not accepting hearing aid batteries for recycling, however we are looking into possible options and will update you as soon as we can.

Will a hearing aid help the ringing in my ears?

Ringing in the ears is caused by inadequate stimulation of the hearing pathway, resulting in abnormal neural activity which causes the perception of sound known as tinnitus. A hearing aid can help minimise ringing by amplifying external sounds and allowing the hearing pathway to be adequately stimulated. This shifts the brain’s focus from internal, somatic sounds to the more important external environment, reducing the presence of your tinnitus.

It is important to know that tinnitus does not have an on/off switch. Everyone experiences tinnitus to some degree throughout their lifetime. However, by managing the loudness of the tinnitus through hearing aids, you can start to gain a better sense of control over your tinnitus.

Will a hearing aid reduce tinnitus?

Hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus by amplifying external sounds and providing adequate stimulation of the hearing pathway. This shift’s the brain’s focus from internal, somatic sounds such as your tinnitus to the more important external environment. Many hearing aid users often report a reduction in tinnitus as one of the secondary benefits of using amplification. However, it is important to remember that tinnitus does not have an on/off switch. Everyone experiences tinnitus to some degree throughout their lifetime. The goal of using hearing aids is to better manage your tinnitus, and help you gain a better sense of control.

Hearing aid and tinnitus

The most common cause of tinnitus is due to damage to sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. People with hearing loss, both age related and noise induced, are more likely to suffer from tinnitus than others. Hearing aids have been found to be an effective measure in managing tinnitus, as increased amplification of external sounds provided by hearing aids allows the hearing pathway to be more adequately stimulated. This in turn, shifts the brain’s focus from internal, somatic sounds to the more important external environment, reducing the volume of the tinnitus.

Some hearing aids also include tinnitus features to help mask the sound of tinnitus during the daytime when a hearing aid is worn. These special masking sounds can provide additional relief without cutting off sound from the external world. It is best to chat with your audiologist to decide whether additional tinnitus features are right for you.

Hearing aid history in Australia

Although the first hearing aid was not invented in our country, Australia has made many great additions to hearing health and technology, both nationally and worldwide.

The National Acoustics Laboratories (NAL) was first established by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia in 1944 to investigate the effects of noise on military personnel. Over the years, their focus widened to capture a larger population including providing services to returning World War II veterans and school children. NAL has provided audiologists with an abundance of information that assist audiologists to make informed decisions about their fittings. Most importantly, NAL’s research provides the audiologists of today the prescription procedures required to fit wide dynamic range compression hearing devices in a manner that optimises speech intelligibility and maximises hearing and listening outcomes. Moreover, in 1997, the Office of Hearing Services (now known as the Hearing Services Program) established the voucher program, which allows eligible groups such as pensioners to receive subsidies for their hearing related health expenses.

On the global stage, Australia’s great achievement in the world of hearing is the invention of the cochlea implant. Inspired by deaf father’s struggle to make a connection with others, Professor Graeme Clarke set out to create an implantable hearing device. In 1978, the first successful cochlear implant surgery took place. From this success, Cochlear Limited was born and now hundreds of thousands of people around the world have received the gift of hearing through their cochlea implant.

Expensive vs cheap hearing aid

As most hearing aids require a significant investment it is not uncommon for people to use budget as the defining factor when selecting hearing aids. However, the choice is not simply between cheap or expensive. Finding the right hearing aid for you involves asking yourself a single question: what do I want my hearing situation to be like post-fitting?

Would you like to be able to hear confidently enough to lead large team meetings? Do you want to be able to join in the conversation at the family dinner table? Would you like to watch TV without triggering a family argument over the volume? Or maybe you simply want to be able to sit on the veranda and enjoy the subtle sounds of nature?

There is a wide spectrum of hearing aid technology with different features catering for different hearing goals. More sophisticated technology will appear in hearing aids with higher price points, making them more appropriate for goals that involve challenging environments or high levels of noise. For example, team meetings and crowded restaurants are both demanding and dynamic environments that will require more sophisticated technology and more expensive hearing aids in order to get the benefits you want.

On the contrary, for those with simple hearing goals that involve minimal environmental noise and static environments, a basic level hearing aid with basic features may provide the right level of benefit. It is extremely important to discuss your hearing goals with openly and honestly with your audiologist to ensure they receive the best understanding of your expectations and can give you the best recommendation possible.

Of course, at the end of the day, sometimes our budget can play the deciding factor in our decisions whether we want it to or not. In that case, it is important that your expectations are aligned with the level of technology you are prepared to invest in. Your audiologist will help you in understanding the advantages and limitations of your selected hearing device so that you are best prepared for your upcoming hearing journey.

What is an Audiologist

An AUDIOLOGIST is the professional who specialises in hearing and the non-medical aspects of hearing loss. Audiologists have extensive knowledge and clinical training in managing hearing problems. They conduct a wide variety of tests to determine the exact nature of an individual’s hearing problem. Audiologists present a variety of treatment options to patients with hearing impairment. They dispense and fit hearing aids, administer tests of balance to evaluate dizziness and provide hearing rehabilitation training. Audiologists refer patients to physicians when the hearing problem needs medical or surgical evaluation

Where should I go for help if I suspect that I may need a hearing aid?

You should see an Audiologist for a hearing test first. Your Audiologist will then determine the type of hearing loss you have and determine if you are a candidate for a hearing aid. Hearing aids vary greatly in quality, their sizes, styles, and features. Your Audiologist will determine which is the best for you, according to the type and degree of your hearing loss, your dexterity, your specific needs and your lifestyle.

What are the next steps?
Fortunately, there are many ways to help people with hearing loss. Only a few hearing problems can be improved by medication or surgery but most people do benefit from hearing instruments.

Although even the most advanced hearing aids cannot fully restore your hearing, they can improve it considerably. If you take the necessary time to adjust to wearing professionally fitted instruments, you will see a definite improvement in the quality of your life.

After determining the exact nature of your hearing loss, your Audiologist will explain the results, and talk about how your condition will affect you.
Your Audiologist will then present the various solutions – hearing aids or other assistive listening devices – and discuss them with you in detail.

In order to make the appropriate selection, you and your Audiologist will talk about your lifestyle and the way the hearing aids perform. The hearing aids should meet your personal preferences in terms of cosmetic appeal and convenience. Your future requirements will also need to be considered.

Once you and your Audiologist have selected the hearing aids best suited to your hearing loss and lifestyle, a few additional steps are needed:

  • Your Audiologist will take the impression of your ears to provide custom fitted In-the-Ear instruments or ear moulds for Behind-the-Ear instruments. This is not painful, although you may experience a temporary fullness in your ear during this 5-10 minute procedure. The material sets after a few minutes and is then gently removed. The impression is then sent to the hearing aid manufacturer or ear mould laboratory to make a custom fit for your ears
  • Your Audiologist will tell you what to expect from your proposed hearing aids.
  • When your hearing aids are ready (in 1-3 weeks) you are advised to come back for the initial fitting. This appointment may take 1-1.5 hours. Your Audiologist will need to program the hearing aids to provide the appropriate amplification for your hearing loss. The appropriateness of the fitting will be verified by some objective tests. This will follow a further fine-tuning based on your comments.
  • After demonstrating how to insert, use, and look after your new hearing aids, your Audiologist will review your listening needs and expectations.
  • A follow-up appointment will be arranged for 1-2 weeks later to monitor your progress and discuss your experiences. If necessary, your Audiologist can adjust the settings of your aids as you become adjusted to the hearing aids.

You can arrange additional follow-up appointments to address your personal needs, your adaptation to the new amplification, and to evaluate your overall satisfaction.

Why should I wear two hearing aids?

  • Basically, if you have hearing loss on both sides, with a few exceptions, you need to use hearing aids on both sides to enjoy the benefits of a binaural (two ear) hearing. In fact, both ears work together to bring the sound signal to the brain.
  • Using two hearing aids allows people to speak to you from either side of your head – not just your ”better” side!
  • Localisation in a vertical plane is only possible with binaural listening. Localisation is not just a sound quality issue; it may also be a safety issue if you need to tell where the warning and safety sounds are coming from.
  • Understanding speech clearly, particularly in challenging and noisy situations, is easier while using both ears.
  • Using both ears together also affects how well you hear noises because binaural hearing allows you to selectively focus to the desired signal, while ”squelching” or paying less attention to undesired sounds such as background noise.
  • Binaural hearing allows a quality of ”spaciousness” or ”high fidelity” to sounds, which cannot occur with monaural (one ear) listening.
  • Preserving the quality of your hearing on both sides (when you use only one hearing aid, the un-amplified ear may lose its ability to analyse and understand speech, as a result of what is called auditory deprivation).
  • Loud sounds are better tolerated because a lower volume is required with two hearing instruments.
  • With lower volume, the risk of the hearing aid feeding back is reduced with two hearing aids.
  • With two hearing aids, you can hear sounds from a farther distance.

How do I care for my hearing aids?

  • Keep them clean. Wipe them at night with alcohol, taking care not to make them too wet.
  • Keep them dry. (Do not wear them in the shower, even under a shower cap.)
  • Remove the aids and turn them off at night.
  • Don’t take them off over a hard surface. You might drop them and damage delicate parts.
  • Remove them when you want to use hairspray.
  • Remove them when you go to the hairdresser.
  • Do not sit under the dryer while wearing them.
  • Your aid may not work as well in a hot and humid climate because moisture can get into your ear and into your hearing aid.
  • Solution: put the aid in a jar with a little bag of silica crystals or gel, close it up and leave it in there overnight. This will take the moisture out. You can get the silica bags or gel in a shoe store, craft store or drug store. There is also a product called dry-aid for this purpose.
  • Don’t let the aids lie around where pets can get hold of them. (Dogs and cats love the smell of earwax and they will chew and roll on your aids. Pets are also bothered by the high-pitched squeal of aids that haven’t been turned off completely.)
  • Put aids inside containers that pets can’t open.
    For all in-the-ear aids, make sure the sound opening is clear of wax. Clean the filters regularly