Providing hearing tests to North East Victoria for 35 years
When should hearing be tested?
There are many reasons that people might need a hearing test, often depending on the age when the testing is needed. Fortunately, there is a test for all age groups so that information can usually be readily provided about the individual’s hearing. For children, the two major reasons that parents arrange for a hearing test are a history of ear infections and speech and language delay. Sometimes these two actually go hand-in-hand. Some of the possible indicators of hearing problems in children include
- Loud television or sitting very close to the TV
- Not hearing well from a distance, ignoring
- Frequently asking for repeats
- Speech and language delay, especially in the younger children
- Difficulties at preschool or school
- Recurring middle ear infections (also known as otitis media or “glue ear”)
- Discharge from the ears
Adult Hearing Tests
In adults, comments from others often start the process of thinking about a possible hearing loss. Significant others at home (especially the spouse or adult children) often notice when a family member is missing out on conversation, asking for repeats or is needing more volume on the television. This can be stressful and disturbing for the significant other as they can see that the person is withdrawing from social contact. Possible causes of hearing loss in adults include:
- A history of noise exposure
- The general ageing process
- A history of hearing loss in the family (parents, brothers and sisters), especially when hearing aids were needed
- Ear infections, ear surgery
- Recent research suggests that conditions which reduce blood supply are likely to increase the risk of having a hearing loss, including the following:
- Heart disease
- Smoking, either directly or passively
What do people with a hearing loss notice about communication?
- Difficulty hearing clearly in situations where there is a background noise – say, after a meeting when several people are talking at once, or in a restaurant
- Difficulty hearing quietly spoken people
- Difficulty hearing at a distance
- Difficulty hearing the television at the same level as other members of the family
- Difficulty hearing without visual clues
- Some people start to withdraw from social situations because they find this is too difficult
- If it is hard to hear the message, it is even more difficult to remember that message, so the presence of a significant hearing loss can result in increased difficulty recalling what someone said.
- Communication is often quite tiring, as it is hard to put together what has been heard inaccurately with what is visible by lip reading and what is expected from context.
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Audiological assessment for everybody:
At Wangaratta Audiology we are able to test the hearing of babies, children, young adults and older adults. There are a number of different test procedures which are used, depending on age and ability:
- Conventional techniques involve responding appropriately when a sequence of different sounds is presented through headphones and often a vibro-tactile device. This is the test of choice with school-aged children and adults.
- For adults and older children this is usually followed by speech discrimination testing. A series of words is presented through headphones at a few different sound levels to determine how clear words are for the listener.
- Testing for young children (between about six months and three years of age) involves teaching the child to respond to a variety of sounds presented through loudspeakers. This is an engaging technique for the parent to watch.
- Preschool aged children are often ready to test using headphones – they are shown how to make a response to sound using a game. This technique, known as play audiometry, is almost as much fun for the parent as the child!
Tympanometry is used on all ages and is a test of how the middle ear is working – a small tip is inserted into the ear canal and the air pressure is gently changed to provide information about how the eardrum is moving.