As an audiologist, I am fortunate to be in a position where I can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of older persons.  I appreciate my role and consider it a privilege to be trusted and relied upon by my clients and their family members. As a healthcare professional, it is necessary to remain open and willing to participate in a client’s journey and to be an active participant each step of the way. Offering advice and fitting a hearing is not enough.  These are just the first steps in the ‘new’ journey to hearing and communicating more effectively.  It is unfortunate that the majority of people have their hearing assessed later in life because if identified sooner, the  ability to manage and eventually master the new equipment (be that hearing devices or communication strategies) would be much swifter resulting in better outcomes for both the hearing impaired individual and the significant others.  If what I write is true, why is there still a stigma surrounding hearing loss and deafness? Why is hearing impairment not considered on par with vision impairment, fitness level, obesity, diabetes or any other medical condition?  For those of us in the hearing community, hearing is essential to quality of life.  Hearing enables communication and relationship building.  Good hearing is required for employment and for learning language.  Good hearing allows appreciation and enjoyment of music.  Good hearing allows us to listen and learn effectively.

Education is key.  At an individual level, my role as an audiologist reaches many people in society – children, adults, nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals and many others.  Society however, is still uneducated and somewhat ignorant about the nature of hearing loss, its consequences and its sometimes devastating effects on individuals.  A person can go from being the social butterfly to a recluse within weeks, if they suffer a sudden hearing loss.  This in turn, will affect the partner, the family and all those associated with the individual.  Everyone will hopefully offer support, however, an understanding of the aetiology and how it affects the particular individual is paramount to success.

Hearing loss is expected to increase in the future and the impact this will have on society will be significant.  Savvy Audiology recommends people listen to the warnings about loud music via ipods for example, and take responsibility for their hearing health.   Damage to the ears may not be significant percentage wise, but its affect on cognitive processing ability, social interaction, ability to actively participate in discussions with friends, appreciation of music and environmental sounds – the waterfall cascading, the bellbird singing, the pet cat purring – the audibility of alert signals such as a visitor knocking on the door, the cyclist approaching from behind and particularly for an aged individual, the confidence in being able to hear well enough to continue driving which in turn will enable continued independence.

If you have a family member who is not wearing his or her hearing aid, instead of chuckling about it together, try and elicit some feedback about why it is sitting in the drawer.  Encouragement to make an appointment with an audiologist may well be needed.  As people age, it is easy to become set in daily routines and making a change – such as wearing that new hearing aid – can be challenging.  Make hearing well a priority.


Savvy Audiology offers an ‘Aural Rehabilitation Consultation’ for anyone who is struggling because of their hearing loss.  These consultations are totally independent of hearing provider or hearing aid manufacturer.  Savvy Audiology accepts that even with the very best intentions, sometimes the audiologist – client relationship can be complicated with miscommunications possible.  Being well informed, perceptive and able to make good judgements surrounding the sensory loss and the hearing journey, however, the aim is to promote person and family centred care by listening and talking about your needs, at all times guided by our eight fundamental principles – education, empowerment, awareness, independence, engagement, collaboration, respect and inclusivity.