If you haven’t had your hearing tested since you were in grade school, you’re not by yourself. Sadly, we have a tendency to treat hearing loss reactively rather than proactively, and a routine adult checkup usually doesn’t include a hearing test. As a matter of fact, even when they realize they have hearing loss, the majority of people neglect it for up to seven years which can seriously affect your health. As a matter of fact, untreated loss of hearing has been shown to raise your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, hearing tests are simple, pain-free, and provide a wealth of facts for our experts to help you, both for diagnosing hearing concerns and evaluating whether interventions like hearing aids are working. A full audiometry exam is more involved than what you may remember from childhood and you won’t get a sticker or a lollipop when it’s done but you’ll gain a far clearer understanding of your hearing.
While you may not give the state of hearing as much thought as you would the health of your teeth or your eyes, it is essential that you routinely have your hearing tested. It can be a long time before you detect that there is something wrong with your hearing. Because loss of hearing usually occurs slowly over time it’s not easy to notice 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?
All newborns should be tested for hearing loss, and typically, the hospital handles that before they are released. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children have formal hearing examinations 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.
If you are between the ages of 18 to 45, it is suggested that you have your hearing checked every five years and then more frequently as you age. After you turn 60 you need to be examined every two years and if you are between 46 and 60 every three. But don’t let that to stop you. Your specific circumstances will determine when you need to be a test. If you find that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, you should have it tested immediately. Untreated hearing loss has been associated with mental decline, depression and increased risk of falls and other health issues. Your capacity to work effectively and your relationships can also be impacted.
And you need to get a hearing test, in some circumstances, as soon as you can if you have hearing loss that is getting worse quickly. The following scenarios indicate that you should get a hearing test immediately:
- You are experiencing vertigo
- There is earwax buildup or you had an ear infection
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
Another consideration is whether you are at a greater risk for hearing loss. For example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis you should get your hearing examined more frequently.
There are also over 200 ototoxic medications. These medications can be quite harmful for your hearing and they range from some antibiotics to aspirin. In order to be certain none of your medications are impacting your ears, consult your doctor. 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, consider your habits and whether they may contribute to hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? There’s been a noticeable rise in younger people who have hearing loss, which many experts attribute to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. Loud concerts, shows, or machinery can also do appreciable damage to your ears. Schedule your hearing test today if it’s time for you to get your hearing examined.