If you haven’t had your hearing tested since you were in grade school, you’re not alone. It isn’t normally part of a routine adult physical and unfortunately, we often deal with hearing reactively rather than proactively. In fact, even when they realize they have loss of hearing, most people neglect it for up to seven years which can significantly affect your health. In fact, untreated loss of hearing has been shown to raise your healthcare costs over the years.
The good news, hearing exams are easy, pain-free, and provide a wealth of facts for our professionals to assist you, both for diagnosing hearing concerns and evaluating whether interventions such as hearing aids are working. When you were younger, you may recall the audiometry test from school, but a full hearing test will give you a better understanding of your hearing without a lollipop or sticker.
It’s essential that you routinely get your hearing checked even though you may not typically give your hearing as much consideration as your teeth or eyes. It can be a considerable time before you recognize that there is something wrong with your hearing. Because hearing loss normally occurs gradually over time it’s not easy to recognize it at first, but the sooner you can, the more likely you will be able to effectively deal with it.
How do You Know When You Should be Tested?
Usually the hospital will screen infants for hearing loss before they release them. Teenagers should be screened during routine exams with their doctors and children should have formal hearing tests at the ages of 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you are in between the ages of 18 and 45, it is recommended that you have your hearing checked every five years and then more often as you get older. After you turn 60 you need to get examined every two years and if you are between 46 and 60 every three. But don’t allow that to stop you. Your specific circumstances will determine when you should get an exam. If you notice your hearing isn’t what it used to be, you should have it tested right away. Untreated loss of hearing has been associated with mental decline, depression and increased risk of falling and other health problems. It can also influence your relationships and your ability to do work efficiently.
And you should have a hearing exam, in some situations, as soon as possible if you have hearing loss that is getting quickly worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- You are experiencing vertigo
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. As an example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are subjected to loud noises regularly you should have your hearing checked more regularly.
Also, more than 200 ototoxic medications exist. From Aspirin to certain antibiotics, these drugs can be very harmful to your hearing. In order to be certain none of your medications are affecting your ears, consult your doctor. Think about having your hearing tested more often in order to address any hearing loss right away if you are taking any ototoxic medications.
Also, take into consideration how your habits could be affecting your hearing loss. Are you using earbuds regularly? There’s been a noticeable increase in younger people with hearing loss, which many experts connect to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. Loud concerts, shows, or machinery can also do significant harm to your hearing. If you think that it’s time for you to have your hearing checked, schedule an appointment today.