If you haven’t had your hearing examined since your grade school days, you’re not alone. It’s not normally part of a routine adult physical and unfortunately, we often deal with hearing reactively rather than proactively. Most people disregard hearing loss, even when they are aware of it, for up to seven years which can severely impact your health. In fact, in the long run, it’s been proven that your overall health cost will increase if you have untreated loss of hearing.
The good news, In order for our hearing professionals to assist you, we suggest a hearing test which is simple, pain-free and offers a wide range of important information. Both to learn if interventions such as hearing aids are helping you and also for diagnosing potential hearing problems. A full audiometry exam is more involved than what you may remember from childhood and you won’t get a lollipop or a sticker when it’s done but you’ll get a much clearer understanding of your hearing.
It’s essential that you routinely have your hearing tested even though you might not normally give your hearing as much consideration as your teeth or eyes. It can be a long time before you notice that there is a problem with your hearing. Because loss of hearing normally occurs slowly over time it’s not easy to recognize it at first, but the sooner you do, the more likely you will be able to effectively treat it.
When Should You Get Tested?
All infants should be tested for hearing loss, and typically, the hospital does that before they are released. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children undergo formal hearing screenings when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness visits with their doctors.
It’s suggested that if you are in between the ages of 18 and 49, you get your hearing examined every five years and then, as you age, more often. You should get tested every three years if you are 46 to 60 years old and then every two years after you turn 60. But don’t allow that to stop you. Your specific circumstances will determine when you should be a test. If you find that your hearing isn’t what it used to be, you should have it examined immediately. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline, depression and increased risk of falling and other health issues. It can also affect your relationships and your ability to work effectively.
There are also some circumstances in which you should have a hearing test as soon as possible to address hearing loss that could get worse. The following situations suggest that you should get a hearing test immediately:
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
- You are experiencing vertigo
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- There is earwax buildup or you had an ear infection
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. For example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis you should have your hearing examined more frequently.
Also, more than 200 ototoxic medications exist. These medications can be very harmful for your hearing and they range from certain antibiotics to aspirin. Consult your doctor to make certain any medicines you are taking aren’t affecting your hearing. Think about getting your hearing tested more regularly in order to address any loss of hearing immediately if you are using any ototoxic medications.
Also, think about your habits and whether they may contribute to hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? There’s been a significant increase 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 exam today if it’s time for you to get your hearing examined.