FAQs & Resources

What are some of the common causes of hearing loss?

Some of the most common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Excessive noise damage
  • Inner ear changes due to ageing
  • Genetic factors
  • Infection or injury
  • Build-up of earwax

How does getting older affect hearing?

The slower onset hearing loss which most of us will experience due to ageing is known as presbycusis. This type of loss affects primarily the high frequencies at first and progressively may begin to involve the mid and low frequencies over time.

Genetic factors as well as general health issues will influence how any individual will be affected and some people generally have a more “robust” hearing system than others.

How do I apply for free hearing services through the Government Hearing Services Program?

If you are the holder of a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card or certain Veterans Affairs eligibility cards, you are most likely eligible for free hearing aids from the Commonwealth Government.

You must apply for a Hearing Services Voucher before making an appointment with your hearing provider, by completing an Application for Hearing Services form.

Download a form or phone us on 1800 008 308 and we will send you a printed copy.

What is the cost of batteries and are they rechargeable?

Hearing aid batteries are generally Zinc-Air batteries which are not rechargeable. They are provided to eligible Pensioners and Veterans on an as needs basis when they pay a yearly Battery and Maintenance Fee, currently $38.85 per year.

Private clients can also elect to join our Battery Club at a cost of $100 per year for 2 aids, and obtain batteries whenever they need them.

There are now some models of hearing aid which have rechargeable batteries, and you should ask when you are considering your choices, if this is an important consideration for you.

Why do I have more trouble hearing in background noise or in crowds?

All listening is easier in quiet than in noise, but if you are having particular difficulty hearing in noise, you may have a high-frequency loss.

In good listening conditions, such as quiet places or when you are close to the person talking, you may be able to still hear quite well. But when there is noise masking the low frequency sounds you are relying on to follow conversation, you will start to struggle to understand speech, because many of the important sounds for hearing speech clearly are in the high frequencies.

The answer is to have a proper assessment of your hearing so you’re not guessing!

Why do I seem to hear some people better than others?

Many factors influence whether we hear a person or not.

Female and children’s voices may be harder to hear for those with loss in the high frequencies. Some speakers do project their voices better than others, different positions of the speaker, eg walking in front of you and facing away will make the signal softer, a voice from another room will be degraded and therefore harder to hear, and most people with any type of hearing loss will report that speakers with a foreign accent are hard for them to understand. All these situations can result from problems in either detection and/or processing of the speech. Only a full hearing assessment will determine the facts in your own case.

I have talked to others who have had a negative experience with hearing aids, will it be the same for me?

Of course everyone’s experience is individual, and although some people may report “disappointing” experiences with hearing aids, there could be many reasons for this.

It is best to obtain good advice about your own hearing, and then be ready to take positive steps to do something about it. With the best quality hearing aids, honest advice and a positive attitude, most people will find hearing aids help them enormously. Make up your own mind!

Am I ready to try hearing aids?

This is a very important question.

It is related to how willing you are to accept that you have a hearing loss and whether you want to take positive steps to improve your communication ability.

Communication is a 2-way process. While often the “blame” for not hearing can be put on the other person, eg “my children seem to mumble”, “they talk to me while they are walking away”, the fact is that hearing problems do significantly contribute to breakdowns of communication.

If you are willing to actively address the problem by wearing hearing aids, then your friends and family will likely be more ready to also help by being more aware and compensating when they speak with you.

At Whitsunday Hearing you will not be pressured into having hearing aids. It needs to be your own decision to have a successful result.

What is an audiogram?

Audiogram demonstrating hearing levelsAn audiogram is a graph which shows the level in decibels(dB) of the softest sound you can detect (threshold of hearing) at a number of different pitches or frequencies (in hertz, Hz).

Hearing loss will be described by the “degree” of variation from the normal range. When asked about “percentage of hearing loss” this is usually only calculated for reports in cases where compensation is being sought.

Do I need one or two hearing aids?

More than half of those with hearing loss are affected in both ears. Where both ears have a hearing loss, two hearing aids will be recommended. The benefits of two hearing aids are:

  • “Stereo” hearing – the brain relies on two independent inputs from the ears
  • Two ears help with the “sorting out” of speech from noise
  • Picking direction or source of a sound will be better
  • Input from both ears boosts the loudness of the signal
  • Sound quality is reported as more natural, and requires less effort

What is an Assistive Listening Device?

An assistive listening device is any other type of device which can supplement hearing aids to improve your listening experience for specific situations such as the telephone or TV. These can be very effective if you are finding listening difficult in only a specific situation, or if you require extra help after having trialled hearing aids.

When is noise dangerous to my hearing?

  • Sound intensity is measured in decibels (dB)
  • Whispering would probably be measured at below 35dB
  • Talking with friends – around 50-60dB
  • Music in a disco – around 100-110 dB or greater

This kind of measurement is not like going up a ladder one step at a time, it’s more like taking bigger and bigger steps as the sound gets more intense. For example 90dB is ten times louder than 80dB.

So the noise from a disco is not three times the intensity of whispering, but more like several thousand times greater. Ears start to hurt from noise at around 90dB.

WH&S Legislation dictates what is considered a safe level of occupational noise exposure, and is calculated based on the noise “dose” that a worker is exposed to.

For an 8-hour working day, the safe upper limit of noise is 85dB.

For every 3dB increase in this level, the time allowed for safe exposure is halved, eg for a 88dB noise level, the safe time limit of exposure is 4 hours, for 91dB it is 2 hours and so on.

In our technology-driven world, we now use our hearing for entertainment, information and leisure outside of the workplace like never before, and this means our total “exposure” to sound over the day has increased.

It is important to limit your exposure to noise in each 24 hour period, and ensure you have a reasonable period of rest from noise each day.

Have some quiet time every day!

What is the ringing sound I have in my ears…can anything be done?

Ringing or other sensations of sounds in the ears is known as tinnitus. It is usually a sign that there has been some damage to the auditory system, most commonly noise damage, but can be present in the absence of hearing loss.

While there is no instant cure for tinnitus, there are many things which can assist in managing and often alleviating the tinnitus.

Hearing aids often help significantly while they are being worn. Other specific tinnitus treatments have been developed to manage the condition, and these require referral to specialists in this area.

A careful history and hearing assessment is the best starting point, and treatment must be tailored to your individual condition.

Useful Links

Hearing and Hearing Loss

Hear It
Ear Science
Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Kid Friendly Information

Assistive Listening Devices

Word of Mouth Technology

Hearing Aids



Australian Tinnitus Association


Meniere’s Australia

Cochlear Implants

Mater Hospitals

Managing Ear wax

Dizziness and Balance