If you haven’t had your hearing tested since your grade school days, you’re not alone. It’s not usually part of a routine adult physical and sadly, we often treat hearing reactively instead of proactively. Most people ignore hearing loss, even when they are aware of it, for as many as seven years which can seriously impact your health. As a matter of fact, untreated loss of hearing has been shown to increase your healthcare costs over the years.
The good news, hearing tests are simple, painless, and provide a wealth of information for our professionals to help you, both for diagnosing hearing problems and assessing whether interventions like hearing aids are working. When you were younger, you may recall the audiometry test from school, but a full hearing exam will give you a clearer understanding of your hearing without a lollipop or sticker.
While you might not give the state of hearing as much thought as you do the health of your eyes or your teeth, it is important that you regularly have your hearing examined. It can be a long time before you recognize that there is something wrong with your hearing. Because loss of hearing normally happens gradually over time it’s not easy to detect it at first, but the sooner you do, the more likely you will be able to efficiently deal with it.
How do You Know When to Get Tested?
Usually the hospital will screen newborns for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children undergo formal hearing tests when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years of age and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness visits with their physicians.
It’s suggested that if you are between the ages of 18 and 49, you get your hearing tested every five years and then, as you get older, more often. After you turn 60 you should be tested every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three. But you might need to get tested more often. The regularity with which you need to get tested will ultimately depend on your individual circumstances. If you notice your hearing isn’t what it once was, you should have it examined immediately. Neglected loss of hearing has been connected to mental decline, depression and a greater risk of falling and other health issues. It can also influence your relationships and your ability to do work effectively.
And you should have a hearing exam, in some circumstances, as soon as possible if you have hearing loss that is getting quickly worse. The following situations mean that you need to get a hearing test immediately:
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- You are experiencing vertigo
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. You should have your hearing screened more frequently, for example, if you are exposed to loud noise or if loss of hearing runs in your family.
There are also more than 200 ototoxic medicines. These drugs can be extremely harmful for your hearing and they range from some antibiotics to aspirin. Check with your doctor to make certain any medicines you are taking aren’t impacting your hearing. If you need to take a medication that you know is ototoxic, consider getting more regular hearing testing so you can deal with any hearing loss immediately.
Also, think about how your habits may be affecting your hearing loss. Are you using earbuds regularly? Hearing loss has noticeably increased in younger people, and many experts think that this is due to the use of headphones and earbuds. Your hearing can also be substantially harmed by machinery, shows, or loud concerts. If you feel that it’s time for you to have your hearing tested, schedule an appointment today.