You don’t need to feel like your alone if you haven’t had a hearing exam since you were a youngster. Regrettably, we have a habit of treating hearing loss reactively instead of proactively, and a routine adult physical generally doesn’t include a hearing test. Most people ignore hearing loss, even when they are aware of it, for as many as seven years which can significantly affect your health. In fact, untreated loss of hearing has been proven to increase your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, In order for our hearing professionals to help you, we recommend a hearing test which is simple, painless and gives a wealth of important information. Both to find out if interventions like hearing aids are helping you and also for diagnosing potential hearing problems. When you were younger, you might remember the audiometry test from school, but a full hearing test will give you a better understanding of your hearing without a sticker or a lollipop.
While you may not give the state of hearing as much thought as you would the health of your eyes or your teeth, it is crucial that you regularly get your hearing tested. You might not recognize something wrong with your hearing for some time. Because loss of hearing normally happens gradually over time it’s not easy to detect it at first, but the sooner you can, the more likely you will be able to efficiently treat it.
How do You Know When You Should be Examined?
Typically the hospital will screen babies for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children undergo formal hearing screenings when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years of age and that teenagers should have hearing tests during wellness visits with their doctors.
It’s recommended that if you are in between the ages of 18 and 49, you have your hearing tested every five years and then, as you age, more often. After you turn 60 you need to get tested every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three years. But you might need to get checked more frequently. Your individual situation will dictate when you need to be a test. You should have your hearing examined immediately if you find that it isn’t as good as it used to be. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to cognitive decline, depression and a greater risk of falling and other health issues. Your capacity to work effectively and your relationships can also be impacted.
There are also some situations in which you should get a hearing exam as soon as possible to address loss of hearing that could get worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- You are experiencing vertigo
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
Another factor is whether you are at a higher risk for hearing loss. As an example, if hearing loss runs in your family or you are subjected to loud noises regularly you should get your hearing checked more regularly.
Also, over 200 ototoxic medications exist. These drugs can be extremely harmful for your hearing and they range from some antibiotics to aspirin. So that you can make sure none of your medications are impacting your ears, check with your doctor. If you need to use a medication that you know is ototoxic, consider getting more frequent hearing testing so you can address any hearing loss immediately.
Also, take into consideration how your habits could be impacting your hearing loss. Are you using earbuds regularly? There’s been a noticeable rise in younger people with hearing loss, which many experts connect to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. Your ears can also be significantly damaged by machinery, shows, or loud concerts. Schedule your hearing test today if it’s time for you to get your hearing tested.