A leading audiologist will address the stigma associated with using hearing aids and the damaging effects of ‘binge listening’ during a free ‘Expert Hearing’ Tweet Chat next Wednesday, October 2 from 1-2pm AEST.

One-in-six (3.5 million) Australians are hearing impaired or deaf, while only one-in-five adults living with hearing loss wear hearing aids.

Hearing aids can reduce communication difficulties and improve overall quality of life. Yet research reveals there are various barriers to the use of hearing aids, including cost and concern about drawing attention to oneself.

“A great deal of misinformation about hearing aids exists, which often creates unnecessary barriers to their use,” said Susan Helfand, Senior Audiologist at Comfort Hearing Aids, Sydney.

“Many people do not attend to their hearing problems for quite some time. In fact, studies have shown most people wait, on average, almost 10 years too long before seeking professional help.

“People living with hearing loss are not always familiar with the latest advances in hearing aid technology or which device is best suited to their individual needs, let alone their eligibility for Government hearing aid subsidies,” Ms Helfand said.

As technology advances, people with hearing loss increasingly benefit from hearing aids and cochlear implants. These innovations have made a positive difference to the way the hearing impaired can communicate and enjoy their lives.

A recent study showed the most significant cause of hearing loss in Australia, besides ageing, is exposure to loud noise (37 per cent). Australians aged between 18-and-35 years are exposed to high levels of noise during their weekend leisure pursuits from sources such as nightclubs, pubs, live music venues, MP3 players and personal stereos, which in some cases greatly exceeds the recommended weekly workplace noise limit of 85 decibels (dB).

According to the The National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), for every three decibel (dB) increase, the resulting time of allowable exposure should be halved. For example, at 88 dB the allowable exposure is reduced to four hours. Noise levels at nightclubs can range between 91-and-106 dB. After 15 minutes, a noise level at 100 decibels can already cause damage.3 It is for this reason that ‘binge listening’ – excessive exposure to noise – has generated so much hearing professional attention.

Hearing impairment and ‘binge listening’ can compromise an individual’s communication and participation in everyday life.

“Just because your hearing test identifies a mild hearing loss, this does not mean you will only experience mild hearing difficulties,” said Ms Helfand.

“Even mild hearing loss may significantly affect your quality of life.”

Ms Helfand will convene the Expert Hearing Forum next Wednesday, during which she will engage in a Q&A-style Twitter dialogue on the topics of hearing loss, ‘binge listening’ and how to overcome the ongoing stigma associated with the use of hearing aids. The chat will be moderated by @vivacomms.

Healthcare professionals, people living with a hearing impairment and anyone with an interest in hearing issues are invited to tweet during the Hearing Forum, using the hashtag #HearingForum.

Join the free Hearing Forum on October 2, 2013 from 1-2pm AEST.


  1. hearing care on October 7, 2013 at 7:53 am

    deal with a lot of aged patients in my job and so frustrated at the minuscule buttons used to access the various programmes if installed at all by the audiologist! Bring back the switches I say and allow us the freedom to use volume control!

  2. Josephine on October 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for your comment, hearing care. We appreciate your input and spoke to Susan Helfand, Audiologist at Comfort Hearing Aids, about it. She said, she couldn’t agree more with you on this issue.

    According to Susan, audiologists do lament the demise of the volume control as for many patients it is more intuitive to manage than the smaller volume controls on the newer digital aids. At Comfort Hearing Aids, for example, they always consider the practicalities of the aid for the patient.

    Apparently, there are still a few hearing aid models that use a standard analogue volume control. If the patient is used to this, at Comfort Hearing Aids they try to source a manufacturer that has a model that the patient is used to. Susan advises, that sometimes a listening device is more practical for a patient than a hearing aid, which should be considered as well.

    Do you agree with that?

  3. This is nice and impressive site. It provides us valuable information about the hearing aids.

  4. Maria Wilson on October 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Great post indeed! Hearing aids are really such a wonderful and powerful device which has made deaf people’s life much easier. A lot of new and advanced hearing aids are being utilized by deaf people and most of them have experienced the advantages of these hearing aid devices. I am also deaf and I wear in the canal hearing aids in both of my ears. These hearing devices latterly do miracles and help me in getting the sounds of outer world.