Around five years ago, I met a lovely farming couple from the Wheatbelt — let’s call them Stan and Pat (not their real names).
Stan had been subjected to noisy machinery for more than 30 years, wearing hearing protection for only the past 15, and then only half of the time.
Pat had been suffering from the effects of a loved one whose partner would not acknowledge his hearing loss, not always in silence. Pat finally convinced Stan to come in for a hearing test and was obviously much more motivated than her husband to have his hearing loss treated. Stan was late in arriving and Pat opened up to me, somewhat tearfully. She described the “old Stan” as her mate and best friend, a chirpy, bright and sociable family man who was well liked in their community.
She painted a picture of Stan now, his loss of confidence, choosing to stay home instead of socialising, clearly existing without a customary spring in his step. He had essentially turned into an uncommunicative, unhappy and somewhat reluc...
For some, dinner parties are torture. Someone at the end of the table tells a funny story. Another person jumps in to share a related comment. The fast pace, the continual interruptions, the background noise. People covering their mouths when they speak, sometimes speaking in the opposite direction. Everyone seems to keep up, to be enjoying themselves, laughing and smiling at the appropriate times, relishing the connectedness with old and new friends. Everyone except those with hearing loss.
Overwhelmed by the layers of chatter and only catching bits and pieces of the conversation can make people with hearing loss feel alone and isolated in this situation. And because it’s been an awkward and embarrassing experience, some will decline the next dinner party invitation with friends. We’re only just beginning to appreciate the importance of hearing and the true cost of ignoring a loss to what is arguably our most undervalued sense.
Our brains gradually shrink as we age. It’s inevitable. But this brain tissue loss occurs faster in older adults with hearing loss according to a study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the American National Institute on Aging.
Analysis of MRIs from the longitudinal study revealed that those with impaired hearing experienced more than an additional cubic centimetre of brain tissue shrinkage each year compared with those with normal hearing.
Not surprisingly, the areas of the brain most affected are those responsible for processing sound and speech. Researcher Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D. says “shrinkage in those areas might simply be a consequence of an ‘impoverished’ auditory cortex, which could become atrophied from lack of stimulation.”
Lin went on to give some urgency to treating hearing loss sooner rather than later, before these potential brain structural changes take place.
Hearing loss can be a major source of frustration in relationships, with the hearing partner constantly being asked to repeat what they have said. But a newly published study in the Hearing Review has found that the issues can run much deeper than that.
The researchers suggest that the natural back and forth of conversation is interrupted, affecting connectedness, spontaneity and the sharing of observations, small talk and unexpected experiences. Hearing partners said that in order to ensure the person with hearing loss understands them correctly, they tend to filter their language. And they felt that having to repeat themselves time and time again causes them to sound annoyed when conversing with their partner.
Couples indicated that communication in background noise was particularly difficult, such as at restaurants, pubs, shopping centres, cars and on public transport.
If you feel like people mumble and find yourself having to ask others to repeat themselves, it might be worth considering a hearing test. Speech clarity issues are usually the first noticeable sign of hearing loss and can be very frustrating – both for you and those around you.
You’ll likely notice particular difficulty hearing in noisy situations such as in restaurants and at sporting clubs, and you may even find yourself avoiding these situations. Overall, you’ll probably find it increasingly difficult to participate in conversations.
If this sounds like you, then come in for a hearing test with one of our experienced professionals. Our team specialises in helping people to hear speech as clearly as possible.
Many people experience a bit of tinnitus every now and then which can sound like ringing, buzzing, clicking, crickets or roaring sounds, even heartbeats. While some people take little notice, the effects can be quite debilitating for others. These unwelcome noises can result in difficulties concentrating, in relaxing and some suffer sleep deprivation.
It’s a good idea to avoid loud sounds (which are often unpleasant for tinnitus sufferers anyway) and to also stay clear of quiet environments which tend to make the tinnitus seem louder and more noticeable. During the day it can help to have music playing in the background and in bed at night to have a bedside noise generator playing quiet sounds to distract your attention from the annoying sounds.
There are many causes of tinnitus; the most common is hearing loss, even if it’s only minimal and sometimes undetected by the sufferer. In some cases tinnitus causes stress and anxiety in a person’s life which can seemingly exacerbate the condit...
Just like a car, hearing aids need regular servicing and tuning (reprogramming) to keep them functioning at their best. After all, they are tiny computers that live in or around the moist and warm environment of an ear canal!
Hearing aids should be serviced at least annually or as soon as you feel that the hearing aid isn’t working to its former standard. We would like to invite private clients to take advantage of a limited-time offer to have your hearing aids serviced, firmware upgraded (if needed), your hearing tested and hearing aids reprogrammed for only $90.00. Government clients are entitled to a free annual servicing every 12 months.
Why is this servicing appointment important? Firstly, to extend the longevity of your aids and second, many clients report much improved hearing following their hearing aid servicing appointment.
Ear wax removal is a very popular service at our clinics. Brad Hutchinson Hearing offers three methods of ear wax removal - curettage, micro-suction and hydro-extraction. It is sometimes necessary to use all three methods to achieve and excellent result.
Throw away your cotton buds with can result in increased amounts of wax deep and impacted wax in your ear canal, and make an appointment to have your ear wax removed by one of our professional staff. GP referrals are not necessary.
Known as Arnold's Cough Reflex, the presence of an irritant in the ear canal can result in chronic coughing. This is not the only cause of the condition, but for some sufferers it is the underlying reason and when left untreated, the coughing can persist for weeks, months, even years.
Fortunately there is a simple solution - removal of the irritant from the ear canal. the irritant may be in the form of earwax, hair or a foreign biddy deep in the ear canal, and physically touching nerve endings responsible for triggering the Arnold's Cough Reflex.
If you have tried everything and nothing has stopped the cough, this may be the hidden cause. Contact our team to arrange a consultation
This can be achieved by removing the sticker on your battery 5 minutes before putting it into you rehearing aid. Once the sticker is off, the battery is activated. Oxygen floods the battery and a chemical reaction initiates with the zinc in the battery. This reaction is optimised after 5 minutes.