If you haven’t had your hearing tested since your grade school days, you’re not alone. It’s not normally part of a routine adult physical and sadly, we often deal with hearing reactively instead of proactively. As a matter of fact, even when they know they have hearing loss, most people neglect it for up to seven years which can severely affect your health. In fact, untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, hearing exams are simple, painless, and give a wide range of facts for our professionals to help you, both for diagnosing hearing concerns and evaluating whether interventions such as hearing aids are working. When you were a child, you might remember the audiometry test from school, but a full hearing exam will give you a better understanding of your hearing without a sticker or a lollipop.
While you might not give the condition of your hearing as much thought as you do the health of your teeth or your eyes, it is important that you regularly have your hearing examined. You might not notice something wrong with your hearing for a long time. Hearing loss often happens slowly, and the earlier you recognize an issue with your hearing, the sooner you might be able to fix it.
How do You Know When You Should be Tested?
All infants should be screened for hearing loss, and typically, the hospital does that before they are released. Teenagers should be tested during regular checkups with their physicians and children should get formal hearing tests at the ages of 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s suggested that if you are between the ages of 18 and 49, you have your hearing tested every five years and then, as you get older, more often. After you turn 60 you should be examined every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three years. But don’t let that to stop you. The regularity with which you should get tested will ultimately depend on your individual situation. If you find that your hearing isn’t as good as it once was, you should have it tested immediately. Several health problems are associated with neglected hearing loss, like increased risk of falling, cognitive decline, and depression. Your ability to work efficiently and your relationships can also be impacted.
There are also some scenarios in which you should have a hearing test as soon as possible to address hearing loss that could get worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- You are experiencing vertigo
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
Another factor is whether you are at a greater risk for hearing loss. As an 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 checked more regularly.
Also, more than 200 ototoxic medications exist. These drugs can be quite 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 deal with any hearing loss right away.
Also, take into consideration how your habits might be impacting your hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? There’s been a noticeable increase in younger people who have hearing loss, which many experts connect to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. shows, loud concerts, and machinery can also do considerable damage to your ears. If you feel that it’s time for you to have your hearing examined, schedule an appointment today.