hearing loss, using megaphone to hear


The onset of hearing loss can be gradual and hearing ability can decline over several years. Family and friends are often the first to notice some difficulty with hearing, long before you may recognise it yourself.

What are you missing?

For many who suffer a hearing loss, they often mishear or say they cannot understand speech or that other people are mumbling.

In certain listening situations and with particular people, a hearing loss may not be noticeable and an individual may not be aware of sounds they are missing. Understanding speech may be difficult around people who speak too quickly, in a lot of background noise or with many people speaking at once. A common complaint is: “I can hear, but I can’t understand.”

Immediate treatment is strongly recommended to improve communication and reduce the effects of hearing loss. If you have a close friend or relative whom you believe may have a hearing loss, you can support them by offering to take them to a hearing health assessment.

Make an appointment with one of our university qualified audiologists who will test your hearing abilities and develop a holistic plan tailored to your individual hearing goals, age, lifestyle and budget.

What are the signs?

  • The TV volume is louder.
  • You may have difficulty communicating over the phone.
  • You may find it harder to hear in noisy environments.
  • You may find it harder to understand female’s or children’s voices.
  • You may find accents are harder to understand.
  • People seem to be mumbling.
  • You may be asking for repeats.
  • You may mishear some words.
Signs of hearing loss - “I can hear, but I can’t understand.”

What are the effects?

  • Fatigue:
    – Conversation does not pause while the listener tries to make sense of incomplete sounds.
    – Filling in gaps in meaning creates extra cognitive load which can be exhausting to do all day.
  • Frustration and stress for family & friends.
  • Frustration for the person with a hearing loss.
  • Higher anxiety and reduced self-confidence when the person feels they cannot manage their hearing loss.
  • Social withdrawal which can lead to isolation.
  • Links with depression.
  • Cognitive decline:
    – Associated with accelerated cognitive decline (due to strain on cognitive load).
    – Studies have demonstrated associations between loneliness and cognitive decline or dementia.
*Lin, F. R., Yaffe, K., Xia, J., Xue, Q. L., Harris, T. B., Purchase-Helzner, E., … & Health ABC Study Group. (2013). Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA internal medicine, 173(4), 293-299.

In Children

For children the situation is a little different and identifying potential difficulties requires monitoring. Parents and guardians should be alert for delayed or abnormal speech and language development, signs of inattention and poor academic results at school. All children are screened for hearing loss at birth, however if you are concerned about your child’s hearing, it is advisable to request your paediatrician refer for a hearing screening.

Shout Hearing Healthcare tests children aged 3 years and above. We provide referrals and comprehensive reports to speech pathologist as required and assess Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) for children aged from 7 years (CAPD is estimated to affect between 2-5% of children*).

*Source: CAPD.nal.gov.au

How common is it?

You are not alone!

  • An estimated 1.1 billion people around the world are affected by hearing loss – that’s about 16% of the world’s population.
  • Approximately 1 in every 1000 infants have hearing loss.
  • Approximately 1 in 3 people over 60 have hearing loss.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic ear infections are a leading cause of hearing loss.
  • Studies show that around 65% of people with hearing loss experience mild hearing loss, 30% moderate and 5% severe or profound hearing loss.
  • About 1/3 of all people with hearing loss are of retirement age.
  • The majority of people with hearing loss are of school-going or working age.
  • Studies show that only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.
  • On average, people with hearing loss wait almost 10 years before they do something about it.
Source: Phonak.com