Hearing Tests

Hearing loss

A reduced capacity to communicate has a significant impact on relationships, career opportunities, social connection, independent living, quality of life – and your cognitive (brain) health.

How do I know if I have a hearing loss?

Hearing loss is common, particularly as you become older. In Australia, research has shown that one person in five over 60 years old will have a hearing loss; over the age of 70, one person in three.

Most hearing losses develop slowly and gradually, so it is easy not to notice and it is often difficult to self diagnose a hearing loss.

You may have a hearing loss if you have noticed the following:

  • increased difficulty distinguishing speech in noisy environments
  • a history of exposure to industrial noise without hearing protection
  • a family history of developing a hearing loss
  • family or spouse comments on your hearing difficulties
  • frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • struggling to understand a whisper or softly spoken person
  • struggling to hear conversation from a distance
  • increased volume for TV and radio compared to others
  • difficulties hearing on the telephone
  • missing the telephone or door bell

What are the possible effects of a hearing loss?

  • impaired communication with family, friends, at work
  • fatigue and cognitive load from the effort of listening, potentially leading to detachment and withdrawal
  • social isolation
  • epidemiological evidence suggests an association between hearing loss and cognition and is showing that hearing aid interventions can have protective effects on the ageing brain
  • according to Lancet Commission reports on dementia, hearing loss was identified as the largest potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia (The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care, 2017 and 2020).  The latest evidence has shown there was no increased risk in people who use hearing aids (Lancet, 2023).
  • an increased awareness of tinnitus
  • increased risk of falls, due to reduced proprioceptive cues (auditory information about your position in space) 
  • the emotional impact of all the above

Hearing tests

We carry out a range of hearing tests.  The cost of the test will depend on the level of detail required and therefore the time we spend assessing your hearing.  Our fees are in keeping with those recommended by Independent Audiologists Australia.  Medical referrals are required for hearing assessments to obtain a Medicare rebate.

The results of your hearing assessment will be clearly explained to you, and a detailed report written as required. 

A hearing screening test is a basic test of hearing levels and requires a 15 minute appointment. 

If the hearing screening test shows the presence of a hearing loss, or a drop in hearing levels compared to a previous test, a full diagnostic hearing assessment is recommended. 

For a child, a half hour appointment is required.  If you have concerns about the way your child is processing or making sense of sound, a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) screening and evaluation can be arranged.  

For an adult, a three quarter hour appointment is required for a full diagnostic hearing assessment.  If tinnitus (noises in the ears) is a dominant issue for you, please arrange a tinnitus evaluation appointment, which will include a hearing assessment if this has not already been carried out. 

If you are arranging a hearing assessment appointment with a view to the likely purchase of hearing aids, we request that a one-and-a-half-hour appointment is made.  This allows time for:

  • a detailed discussion of your communication needs, your hearing test results, suitable hearing aid options for you and the level of benefit you can expect from hearing aid fitting. 
  • if you wish to choose hearing aids at your initial appointment, we will have time to make ear impressions.  Many people like time to consider their choice, and you will not be expected to make a decision at your initial appointment.

Hearing health care

Wax removal

We have the training and equipment to remove a wax build-up using a curette and gentle micro-suctioning.  You will need to arrange a quarter hour appointment for this to be carried out.  A build-up of wax can affect your hearing.  It can cause reduced hearing aid performance; feedback (whistle) from your hearing aid; and cause damage to your hearing aid.

Customised ear plugs

We provide a range of custom-made ear plugs to fit the unique shape of each person’s ear.  An initial quarter hour appointment is required to make customised ear impressions.  The plugs will be ready in about two weeks, with a quarter hour appointment required for the fitting of the plugs.  This is to ensure they fit correctly and for you to be instructed in correct insertion.  The cost of the plugs includes both these appointments.

Customised ear plugs are available to provide:

  • hearing protection to high noise levels at work, riding motor bikes, at motor sports, recreational shooting etc.
  • filtered hearing protection for musicians
  • water protection when swimming. 

FAQs

There are a number of tests used by an audiologist to assess hearing.  Pure tone audiometry measures the sensitivity of a person’s hearing across the range of sounds important for speech understanding.  This should be carried out in a sound-proof booth.

A hearing screening test is a basic test of hearing levels using pure tone audiometry.  If you are considering hearing aids, or have concerns about your hearing, a full diagnostic hearing assessment is needed.  This will include:

  • an evaluation of the health of your ears with a tympanometry test, indicating whether your ears/hearing require medical care 
  • pure tone audiometry
  • a speech discrimination test to assess your ability to hear speech clearly
  • an evaluation of your ability to tolerate loud and impact sounds 
  • an assessment of your communication needs and whether hearing aids will be of benefit to you 

Hearing aids are programmed on the basis of your hearing assessment results.  A full diagnostic assessment will enable your individual hearing and communication requirements to be assessed in depth, allowing accurate and personalised programming. 

Avoid loud noise for 16 hours prior to a hearing test. 

The hearing assessment requires concentration and time.  If you’re distracted or not feeling well, you’re more likely to miss very faint test tones.

Medicare will provide a rebate on hearing assessments if patients are referred by their GP, Ear Nose and Throat Specialist or Neurologist.  GPs may also refer as part of an EPC program, with a Medicare rebate claimable.

There is no Medicare rebate on hearing aids.  Eligible patients may be covered under NDIS or under the Hearing Services Program.  

Ideally, every 12 months – unless there is a need for more regular monitoring.

To obtain a Medicare rebate, you will need to be referred by your GP, Ear Nose and Throat Specialist or Neurologist.  GPs may also refer as part of an EPC program, with a Medicare rebate claimable.

Hearing protection should be considered for any noisy activities, for example when using power tools, for recreational shooting, motor sports, loud music – damage relates to ‘how loud, for how long, how often’.

There is a legal requirement for venues to provide protection when volume levels reach a certain level What are the noise dose limits?

If you have to shout to be understood when listening to music, the likelihood is that the volume level is potentially damaging.  The risk of damage varies from person to person.

Yes! As long as the volume is brought down below to a safe listening level. This requires correct insertion of the ear plugs and a volume level that is able to be reduced to safe levels.

There is a range of filtered ear plugs that have been designed for musicians.  These are available in custom or non-custom forms. The filters have a flat attenuation (dampening) response across the frequency range, which significantly reduces the high frequency distortion found with solid plugs, and can provide varying levels of protection. 

Learn more about hearing protection for musicians

Most hearing tests offered free of charge are a basic screening test.  If you are considering hearing aids, or have concerns about your hearing, a full diagnostic hearing assessment is needed.  

Hearing aids are programmed on the basis of your hearing assessment results.  An inadequate hearing assessment will restrict the accuracy of the hearing aid programming and the benefit obtained.  A full diagnostic assessment will enable your individual hearing and communication requirements to be assessed in depth, allowing accurate and personalised programming. 

All this takes time, and there are costs involved. We prefer to keep our charges transparent and do not absorb the assessment costs into our hearing aid prices.

A full diagnostic hearing assessment will include:

  • an evaluation of the health of your ears, indicating whether your ears/hearing require medical care 
  • a detailed hearing test
  • a speech discrimination test to assess your ability to hear speech clearly
  • an evaluation of your ability to tolerate loud and impact sounds 
  • whether hearing aids will be of benefit to you 


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