Hearing Loss and Your Ears

Our ears are very complex. The ear has three main components.

The Outer ear is composed of the external ear structures and the ear canal.

The Middle ear comprises the eardrum and the air-filled cavity behind the drum which contains the 3 small hearing bones.

The Inner Ear has two functions, hearing and balance. It is a fluid-filled labyrinth in the skull bone comprising 2 sections.
The cochlea is responsible for hearing.
The semi-circular canals and vestibule are responsible for balance.
The 8th cranial nerve composed of nerve fibres from the cochlea and the vestibular structures transmits hearing and balance information to the brain.


Hearing loss may be a result of genetics, ageing, noise exposure or acquired conditions of the ear. Some people are born with hearing loss as a result of congenital conditions or diseases acquired in the womb.

There are many other causes of temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Examples include infections of the external, middle or inner ear. Other causes include diseases involving the hearing and/or balance nerves, the nerve pathways or their blood supply. Hearing loss may be “conductive” due to conditions of the outer or middle ear. It may be “sensorineural” due to conditions involving the inner ear or hearing nerve. Balance function may also be affected. Sometimes hearing loss is a combination of both which is called a “mixed” loss.

Our university qualified Audiologists can conduct a full and comprehensive hearing assessment. They will talk to you about the type and degree of your hearing loss and about possible solutions.

Your GP or Ear Nose & Throat Specialist (ENT) can advise you on conditions causing your hearing loss or balance problems. It is advisable to visit a medical professional prior to attending ONDC so they can determine if medical investigations or treatments are required.

Your medical professional may refer you to ONDC for diagnostic testing or a rehabilitative (hearing aid) evaluation.

Specialised Diagnostic Testing

We are the leading provider of specialised diagnostic testing for hearing and balance disorders in South Australia. We welcome referrals from GPs and Medical Specialists.