If you haven’t had your hearing tested since you were in grade school, you’re not alone. It isn’t usually part of a routine adult physical and unfortunately, we often deal with 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 affect your health. As a matter of fact, untreated hearing loss has been proven to increase your healthcare costs over the years.
The good news, hearing tests are simple, painless, and provide a wealth of information for our experts to assist you, both for diagnosing hearing concerns and evaluating whether interventions like 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 clearer understanding of your hearing without a sticker or a lollipop.
It’s crucial that you routinely get your hearing tested even though you may not typically give your hearing as much consideration as your teeth or eyes. You may not notice an issue with your hearing for some time. Because hearing loss commonly 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 successfully deal with it.
How do You Know When to Get Tested?
All newborns should be screened for hearing loss, and normally, the hospital takes care of that before they are released. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children undergo formal hearing exams when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness visits with their doctors.
If you are in between the ages of 18 and 45, it is recommended that you get your hearing checked every five years and then more frequently as you get older. After you turn 60 you should get tested every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three years. But you may need to get checked more often. Your specific situation will dictate when you should get an exam. You should have your hearing examined right away if you notice it isn’t as good as it used to be. Untreated loss of hearing has been connected to mental decline, depression and a greater risk of falling and other health concerns. It can also influence your relationships and your ability to do work efficiently.
There are also some situations in which you should get a hearing exam as soon as you can to address hearing loss that could get worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
- You are experiencing vertigo
- Asking people to repeat themselves is something you have to do constantly
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. You should get your hearing tested more frequently, for example, if you are subjected to loud noise or if hearing loss runs in your family.
There are also more than 200 ototoxic medications. These drugs can be extremely harmful for your hearing and they range from some antibiotics to aspirin. Check with your doctor to make sure any medicines you are taking aren’t affecting your hearing. If you need to take a medication that you know is ototoxic, think about getting more frequent hearing testing so you can manage any hearing loss right away.
Also, consider your habits and whether they might contribute to hearing loss. Are you using earbuds regularly? Hearing loss has noticeably increased in younger people, and many experts think that this is because of the use of headphones and earbuds. Loud concerts, shows, or machinery can also do appreciable damage to your hearing. If you think that it’s time for you to have your hearing examined, schedule an appointment today.