Hearing loss and Tinnitus

Hearing loss occurs in 1 in 6 people in Australia. With our ageing population and levels of noise exposure, by 2050 this is expected to rise to 1 in 4. Recent research shows that getting help early leads to much better outcomes and improved quality of life.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is when your ability to hear things around is reduced - this includes hearing speech and environmental sounds around you (like the microwave beeping or the blinker on your car). It can make hearing conversations difficult at times, especially if you are out and there is lots of other conversations going on at the same time.

Hearing loss occurs in 1 in 6 people in the Australian population. Like many things, age is one of the biggest risk factors, and in fact over 50% of people aged between 60 and 70 have a hearing loss which increases to more than 80% of people over 80. Noise exposure is one of the other main causes of hearing loss but there are others as well.

Recent research shows that getting help early leads to much better outcomes and improved quality of life. When most people develop a hearing loss, they lose the ability to hear some sounds and not others which can make it seem like their hearing is selective. This can make the hearing loss difficult to detect until it worsens and all sounds are affected.


Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Some of the common symptoms of hearing loss to look out for are:

People seem to be mumbling

You often seem to misunderstand what people are saying

You can hear, but not clearly

You need the TV up louder than other people do

You have great difficulty hearing in groups

You have great difficulty hearing if you go out to noisy places, such as a restaurant

You find that you have to concentrate very hard to hear, especially if outside noise is present

You find children’s voices difficult to understand

You have ringing or noises in your ears (tinnitus)


Causes of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the outer and/or middle ears. Conductive hearing loss may or may not be permanent. Often medical treatment or surgery can correct a conductive hearing loss. Hearing aids are very effective in aiding conductive hearing loss.

Some common causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Wax blockage
  • Middle ear fluid (common in young children but can also occur in adults, sometime referred to as ‘glue ear’)
  • Perforated eardrum (may be due to trauma or severe infection)
  • Otosclerosis (hereditary disease affecting the middle ear bones)

Sensorineural hearing loss

A sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss in usually permanent and cannot be corrected by surgery. Hearing aids are effective in aiding most sensorineural hearing losses.
Some common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • The ageing process
  • Noise exposure
  • Meniere’s disease (relatively common disease that can affect hearing and balance)
  • Head injuries

A mixed hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the outer and/or middle ear and the inner ear, that is, there is both a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss present.


Tinnitus is the name given to noises in the ears and head that have no outside origin. Tinnitus can sound like cicadas, ringing, hissing or basically anything and it can change the way it sounds over the course of the day. It may be there all day or only sometimes and might be loud or soft. Tinnitus is very common and experienced to varying degrees by up to 20% of the population.

It can be caused by:

  • Age related hearing loss
  • Noise exposure
  • Some prescription and non-prescription drugs
  • Excessive stress or trauma
  • Neck and/or jaw tension
  • Hormonal changes
  • No known cause

If you experience tinnitus which is bothersome or only in one ear, contact our clinic to arrange an appointment so we can help.

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Hearing Assessment

The first step to get an accurate measurement of your hearing is to complete a hearing assessment by responding to a series of sounds.


Hearing Aids

People often come to us and say they want ‘the best’ hearing aid. So, what is the best hearing aid? Unfortunately, there is no single ‘best’ hearing aid to suit everybody. 


Hearing Assessment for Children

Butterfly Audiology perform hearing assessments for children aged four years and over.


Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Audiometric Testing

Audiometric testing must be provided within three months of the Worker commencing work where hearing protection is required.


WorkCover Assessments

We are a contracted hearing services provider with WorkSafe Victoria and are very experienced in providing services to WorkCover claimants.


Ear Plugs

Butterfly Audiology offer custom made ear plugs to prevent noise exposure and damage to your hearing.