About Hearing - Early Treatment is Important

Importance of Hearing

Hearing impairments affect over three million Australians. Here we explain the types and degrees of hearing loss as well as the consequences it has upon people's lives and their loved ones.

Hearing DOES matter - be proactive - do something about it - enjoy life!

The spoken word is the most effective way of achieve communication, understanding and feeling between people.

The ability to hear well is a crucial aspect of life which we must preserve. Today's modern technology makes this easier to achieve than ever.

Hearing impairment negatively affects personal relationships, quality of life, and your ability to go about a normal day. People with hearing loss cannot fully enjoy social interaction with family and friends as they struggle to remain involved in conversations, phone calls, TV, and radio.

The world is full of important and amazing sounds that we often take for granted. People are often amazed by the sounds of nature once they try hearing aids - the calls of birds, the sounds of waves lapping, the rattle of rain on a tin roof and the whistle of wind through the trees.

The Ear

Outer ear - comprises everything you can see down the ear canal to the drum

Middle ear - comprises the space behind the eardrum housing the 3 smallest bones in the body: the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) & stapes (stirrup). These bones transmit sound vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear.

Inner ear - comprises the cochlea and semicircular canals. The cochlea is a spiral-shaped structure, about the size of a pea. It is nestled in the bone of the skull and is filled with fluid. A thin membrane with thousands of microscopic hairs sits in this fluid. Each hair is tuned to a particular pitch and connects to the hearing nerve that transmits the message to the brain. The semicircular canals are related to the sense of balance.

How Hearing Works

When something makes a noise it sends sound waves through the air. These sound waves are collected by the outer ear and channeled along the ear canal to the ear drum. The impact on the eardrum creates vibrations which are transmitted along the three bones of the middle ear. The last of these bones (the stapes) connects to the inner ear.

When the stapes vibrates it moves the fluid within the inner ear. This movement causes the tiny hairs that are connected to the lining of the inner ear to be bent in a wavelike action. The bending of these hairs sets of an electrical signal which is transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve.