You don’t need to feel like your alone if you haven’t had a hearing exam since you were a kid. It’s not commonly part of a routine adult physical and sadly, we often treat hearing reactively rather than proactively. The majority of people disregard 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 loss of hearing has been proven to increase your healthcare costs in the long run.
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 such as hearing aids are working. A full audiometry test 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 might not give the condition of your hearing as much attention as you do the health of your teeth or your eyes, it is important that you routinely have your hearing tested. You might not notice a problem with your hearing for some time. Loss of hearing usually happens slowly, and the earlier you recognize an issue with your hearing, the sooner you may be able to deal with it.
How do You Know When You Should be Tested?
Typically the hospital will test babies for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children undergo formal hearing tests when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old and that teenagers should have hearing tests during wellness appointments with their doctors.
If you are in between the ages of 18 to 45, it is suggested that you get your hearing examined every five years and then more often as you age. You should get tested every three years if you are between 46 and 60 years old and then every two years after you turn 60. But don’t let that to stop you. The frequency with which you need to get checked will really depend on your unique circumstances. You should have your hearing examined immediately if you find that it isn’t as good as it used to be. Untreated hearing loss has been associated with mental decline, depression and increased risk of falls and other health problems. It can also influence your relationships and your ability to work effectively.
There are also some circumstances in which you should have a hearing test as soon as you can to address loss of hearing that could get worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- There is earwax buildup or you had an ear infection
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
- You are experiencing vertigo
Another consideration is whether you are at a greater risk for hearing loss. You should get your hearing checked more frequently, as an example, if you are subjected to loud noise or if loss of hearing 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. Consult your doctor to make sure any medicines you are taking aren’t affecting your hearing. Consider having your hearing tested more frequently in order to address any hearing loss right away if you are using any ototoxic medications.
Also, take into consideration how your habits might be affecting your hearing loss. Frequently using your earbuds? Hearing loss has significantly increased in younger people, and many experts believe that this is because of the use of headphones and earbuds. Your ears can also be significantly harmed by loud concerts, shows, and machinery. If you feel that it’s time for you to have your hearing checked, schedule an appointment today.