Hearing information

Often, those who suffer from hearing loss experience the symptoms without knowing how it all works.  At Northside Audiology, we feel knowledge is an important tool.  The below information will help you to understand more about the mysterious art of hearing.

How do we hear?

Sound travels through the ear canal, creating vibrations of the ear drum (tympanic membrane). These vibrations are transmitted through the bones related to hearing (the ossicles – hammer, anvil and stirrup) into the inner ear (cochlea). In the cochlea, these mechanical vibrations (energy) are converted into electrical energy and conducted via nerve impulses to the brain, which interprets them as recognisable sounds. Simple, right?

How common is hearing loss?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 2.8 million Australians suffer from some degree of hearing impairment. Over the next 25 years it is estimated that this figure will grow to 4.9 million. There are two basic categories of hearing loss:

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by disease/malformation of the ear drum and/or bones of hearing, causing a loss of sound conduction to the inner ear.

This type of hearing loss is often surgically correctable or readily rehabilitated with a hearing aid.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by nerve damage. This is the most common form of hearing loss and is the type that generally affects either the elderly or those born with deafness. When sensorineural hearing loss is affecting an individual’s lifestyle and ability to function at work, they may be a candidate for hearing aids. If hearing worsens, the individual may require a bionic ear or Cochlear implant.