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Hearing Awareness Week 2022

When it comes to hearing loss, you may be exploring options or be ready for action. Take some time this Hearing Awareness Week to ask our expert team your questions—it will pay off later.
Hearing awareness week at NextSense

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Hearing loss is very common among Australian adults. Hearing loss directly affects one in seven Australians and is predicted to affect one in five by 2060.

1 in 6
Australians currently live with hearing loss*
1 in 3
Australians over 65 live with hearing loss**
of adult hearing loss is preventable***

Having access to a network of experts is important for children and adults with hearing loss.

lives have been changed by NextSense Cochlear Implant Services^
is the financial cost of hearing loss in Australia^^
invested in hearing health returns a $23 gain^^^

Your hearing loss questions answered

During Hearing Awareness Week, find answers to commonly asked questions about hearing loss.

What causes hearing loss?

Some people are born deaf or hard of hearing, while for others hearing loss develops quickly, or over time. There’s no single cause of hearing loss—but here are a few common causes:

  • genetic conditions
  • certain types of infections
  • craniofacial abnormalities
  • head trauma or damage to the eardrum
  • exposure to loud noises
  • ototoxic medications
  • recurring middle ear infections
  • age-related hearing loss.
What are the impacts of untreated hearing loss?

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the way you live your life. We know that untreated hearing loss can lead to withdrawal, social isolation, depression, and anxiety, particularly among older people. Hearing loss is also the single biggest modifiable risk factor for dementia in middle age. Having regular tests is important. If problems are identified, address them early and explore your hearing options.

Are there different types of hearing loss?

Yes—hearing loss is described according to the part of the ear that is affected. Hearing loss can be:

  • conductive hearing loss
  • sensorineural hearing loss
  • mixed hearing loss
I'm over 50—how can I tell if I am losing my hearing?

Finding it difficult to make out what someone is saying over the phone, struggling to hear family and friends in noisy social environments, and feeling like people are always mumbling can be signs that your hearing is deteriorating over time.

My hearing has changed. Where do I start?

If you have recently started noticing a deterioration in your hearing, the first place to start is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will then talk to you about arranging a hearing test and meeting with an audiologist who can assess your hearing loss and advise you on the best next steps. You can also contact our Client Care team for advice on where to get the support you need.

Where can I access a hearing assessment for my child and what do I need to access this service?

NextSense offers hearing assessments for children from birth onwards, including those with special needs. Hearing assessments are delivered by experienced audiologists in a child-friendly environment. NextSense hearing assessments are available in New South Wales and Victoria, at our Blackburn (VIC), Liverpool (NSW), and North Rocks (NSW) centres.

You will need a referral from your GP to access the service. Learn more about hearing assessments for children.

How do I help my child with hearing loss navigate the world?

One of the best ways you can set your child up to reach their full potential is through early intervention services. From birth onwards, NextSense Early Intervention can help you build foundations for learning and critical life skills to give your child the confidence to explore the world around them.

Our program promotes the development of listening, language, communication, and social skills, in spoken language, Auslan, or both to best meet your child's and your family's needs. For children who are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s important to provide tailored opportunities for early learning. We give children quality support early in life to set the foundation for higher learning and critical life skills. Learn more about NextSense Early Intervention.

Will my child be able to play sport and swim with their hearing devices?

Hearing devices do not have to hold your child back—in fact, they are designed to support them to participate in the world around them. If your child uses a hearing device, such as a hearing aid or cochlear implants there are several accessories available to adapt and protect the device from damage. For anyone using cochlear implants, it is advised that they avoid full-contact sports that could increase the risk of head injury and/or damage to the implant itself. Please consult with your audiologist to discover what your options are for you and your child’s unique circumstances.

What is the difference between cochlear implants and hearing aids?

Hearing aids provide precisely amplified sound into the wearer’s ear so that it can be heard when natural hearing is impaired. However, hearing aids may reach their limit when the damage is too great. Cochlear implants bypass damaged structures in the inner ear or ‘cochlea’ and stimulate the hearing nerves directly. Cochlear implants have an external component called a speech processor, which looks like a hearing aid. This is worn behind the ear, or on the side of the head. Unlike hearing aids, the speech processor uses a radio signal to send information through the skin to the ‘implant’ which is surgically placed under the skin. The implanted component stimulates the hearing nerves and allows the brain to perceive sound.

What does a cochlear implant sound like?

Everyone’s initial experience with a cochlear implant is unique as they have not heard in this way before. Many cochlear implant users describe the sound as being quite different from their hearing aids, especially at first. This changes over time and most users say it gets better every day. NextSense will provide support for you with regular appointments early on as you adjust to this new way of hearing and continue your care with annual check-ups and appointments on request.

Am I too old for a cochlear implant?

You are never too old for a cochlear implant. Cochlear implants can help people of any age to improve their hearing and quality of life. Babies a few months old, up to people in their 90s and beyond have benefited from cochlear implant technology.

What did our clients want to know?

1. My baby has profound hearing loss. What does that mean and what’s next?

When Axel was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at 4 weeks old, his parents, Julia and Andrea, just wanted to know what it all meant and what was next for their beautiful baby boy. It wasn’t until they were put in touch with a speech pathologist at NextSense that they received the reassurance they needed.

Discover what Axel's family learned.

2. Will I still be able to do all the things I love with a cochlear implant?

One of the first questions Moira asked our team of experts when she was a candidate for cochlear implants was: would the implant stop her from doing any of the activities she enjoys. After discussing her questions, Moira was reassured that her implant wouldn’t hold her back from doing the things she loves, like going swimming.

Read about Moira's journey.

3. Valentina—'My child has been diagnosed with hearing loss. How will they communicate?'

When Valentina didn’t pass her newborn hearing test, further tests during surgery revealed the 4-week-old baby girl had severe to profound hearing loss in both ears. Valentina’s mum and dad had so many questions—what would their child’s life be like and how would their baby communicate?

See what information helped Valentina's family.

4. Paul—'I have lost my hearing, Can you help me hear the world around me again?'

Ever since he lost hearing due to otosclerosis, Paul has been on a mission to enhance his hearing and participate in the world of sound around him. Now, through the combination of a cochlear implant and a hearing aid, Paul’s hearing is the clearest it has been in decades.

Read how Paul reached this point.

Our incredible staff

This Hearing Awareness Week, we talked to our staff about why they do what they do.

At NextSense, we understand your unique needs and journey and create a solution that’s right for you. Meet some members of our expert team, who share what inspires them.

I'm inspired by every family's unique journey. It really is such an incredibly rewarding experience,

staff happy

Marisa—Teacher of the Deaf, Victoria

Marisa learns from the families she works with every day in her role as a Teacher of the Deaf.

Part of a multidisciplinary early intervention team, Marisa supports deaf and hard of hearing children and their families, from the moment they join the NextSense program as small infants, through to getting ready for school.

Find out what else inspires Marisa about being a Teacher of the Deaf.

Rachel—audiologist, ACT

Canberra-based NextSense Audiologist Rachel Middleton says adults often say they can’t believe the improvement in their hearing after having a cochlear implant and what a difference it’s made.

Discover more about what Rachel loves about being an audiologist.

Allison—speech pathologist, NSW

For Allison Gangell, it’s things like seeing three-year-old toddlers with hearing loss and minimal communication skills grow into professional working adults that inspire her.

Find out what else drives Allison.

Our hearing services

We provide innovative, customised and evidence-based services aimed at breaking down barriers for children, adults and families of people with hearing loss. Here's a selection of our most comprehensive hearing services.

Cochlear implant services

Since implanting Australia's first cochlear implant in 1984, we have successfully implanted more than 6,700, helping newborns to those aged 90 and older access a new world of sound. Our cochlear implant program gives you access to leading surgeons, an expert team of health professionals, and the latest technologies, often without out-of-pockets costs.

Find out if a cochlear implant is right for you.

Early Intervention—hearing

Our program promotes the development of listening, language, communication and social skills, in spoken language, Auslan or a combination of both to best meet your child's and your family's needs. Quality support right from the start gives children the foundations they need for higher learning and critical life skills. Our work with children from birth to eight years gives them the confidence to interact with others, play, and explore their world.

Find out more about Early Intervention-hearing.

Preschools and Kindergarten

We have three specialist preschools for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our expert teachers foster language, emotional and social development to enhance self-esteem and independence. We also offer specialist hearing loss support for children in mainstream preschools.

Find out more about our preschool programs across New South Wales and Victoria.

School Services

Driven by best practice, our School Services are designed to ensure children have access to a high-quality curriculum in an inclusive environment. We support children with listening and spoken language, Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and access to information, technology and learning aids to ensure they can achieve their goals either at one of our specialist schools or in mainstream schools.

See our list of schools ranging from K-12.

What’s one secret to ageing well? Asking questions about hearing loss.

Clinical Professor Catherine Birman answers common questions about adult cochlear implants.

*Listen Hear! The Economic Impact and Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia, Access Economics Pty Ltd, February 2006

**Listen Hear! The Economic Impact and Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia, Access Economics Pty Ltd, February 2006

**World Health Organisation

^NextSense client data

^^Deloitte Access Economics 2017

^^^ World Health Organisation