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In Australia, newborn babies can have a free screening test, usually within the first few days of birth.
Babies who do not pass will go on to have further diagnostic tests with an audiologist to determine their hearing ability.
Other tests that children and adults with hearing impairment may require are included in Table 2.
Main hearing tests for children and adults
A range of audiological tests and physical examination is needed for a full diagnosis of hearing impairment.
Management options, useful tools and ways of coping with hearing impairment are listed in Table 3.
Treatments and tools for hearing impairment [10,12,13]
|Management options and tools for managing hearing impairment||Description|
Electronic device which amplifies sound so it can be heard
Electronic device inserted into the inner ear with an external processor worn behind the ear that encodes the external sound into electrical impulses in the inner ear to activate the auditory (hearing) nerve
Assistive listening devices
Phone amplifying devices, mobile device apps, closed captions, hearing-loop (induction loop) systems, alerting devices
Lip reading and sign language
Training can help people learn these skills
Reducing barriers when talking
Converse with minimal background noise
Get the person’s attention before speaking
Ensure good lighting, face the person, ensure speaker’s mouth is visible
Speak more slowly than usual but naturally
Childhood immunisation protects against some bacteria that cause otitis media.
Ear infection can be treated by antibiotics , and grommets can be used in some cases of glue ear.
Education on prevention is important, from childhood intervention programs through to regulations around workplace exposure, particularly in mining, wood product manufacture and building construction.
Avoiding excessive noise sources, and using personal hearing protection such as earmuffs and ear plugs, where appropriate, is recommended .
New tests and management options under development at the Bionics Institute
Deep expertise in hearing research at the Bionics Institute has given rise to ground-breaking tests and new management options:
• Research to develop ways to individually optimise the benefits gained from cochlear implants
• A new infant hearing test that images the brain using near-infrared light to give children with hearing impairment the best chance to hear and speak.
• A world-first test for tinnitus that can diagnose presence and severity of tinnitus with high accuracy
• Research into the genetic modification of nerve cells to respond to light and electricity to combat the issue of current spread in cochlear implants
• Development of therapeutics using nanotechnology to restore age-related hearing impairment.
With your help, we can accelerate the evolution of this research, improving the lives of people with hearing impairment.
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Early-stage research for life-changing devices like this is made possible by donations from our supporters.
Your support today could turn the seed of an idea into a new treatment in the future.
This article contains general information relating to a medical condition. Such information is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace medical advice given by your healthcare professional.
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10. Age-Related Hearing Loss [Internet]. Source: NIDCD. 2022 [cited 2022 May 5]. Available from: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss#2
11. Hearing checks and hearing aids. (CC BY 4.0) [Internet]. The State of Queensland 1995–2022. 2019 [cited 2022 May 8]. Available from: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/services/oral-eye-ear/hearing
12. Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults [Internet]. Source: National Institute on Aging. 2018 [cited 2022 May 5]. Available from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults
13. Cochlear Implants [Internet]. Source: NIDCD. 2021 [cited 2022 May 10]. Available from: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/cochlear-implants