When Should You Get Hearing Tests?
When Should You Get Your Hearing Checked?
There are a few factors that go into determining when and how often you should have your hearing checked. A hearing test is done when you or a health care provider determine it is needed based on hearing loss symptoms.
Your age and career are other factors. If you’re exposed to loud noises in your job you will want your hearing checked. If you are above 60, you should regularly be getting your hearing checked.
If you already have confirmed hearing loss you should be getting checked for any change in your hearing ability. Slight hearing loss will not be noticeable without a proper hearing test. Sometimes hearing loss happens little by little and a big change isn’t recognized. You don’t know how well you could be hearing.
When Should You Get Hearing Tests?
Generally, people 60 and older should have a baseline hearing test and get rechecked every few years. If you have a hearing aid or any other hearing device you should be getting it checked at least once a year.
Hearing loss is very common in the U.S. There are more cases of hearing loss than vision loss. Hearing loss due to loud job sites or exposure to chemicals is common. Mild hearing loss starts out with thinking other people are just mumbling. The symptoms slowly increase until a hearing evaluation is needed.
Some symptoms of hearing loss are:
- muffled speech and sounds
- misunderstanding people
- trouble hearing consonants
- asking others to repeat themselves or slow down
- listening to TV or music too loud
- withdrawing from conversation
Social events can become very isolating when you have untreated hearing loss. Background noise covers up the conversion and the ability to focus becomes difficult. If you or a loved one has any of these signs of hearing loss, an appointment with an audiologist will bring clarity to the situation.
Hearing’s Impact on Quality of Life
Hearing loss affects the way we interact with others as well as the world around us. The isolation comes from losing the effortless conversations one used to experience. The ability to read a room and feel included may decrease in individuals with hearing loss.
Hearing loss can also affect speech. Have you ever started singing while wearing earphones? We need to be able to hear ourselves in order to get the right pitches. Phone calls can be frustrating since you do not see the other person’s face or facial expressions over the phone.
Favorite places and restaurants may change when you no longer feel comfortable in a noisy environment. Your social life with friends may feel like more work than it used to. Spending time with friends in settings with low noise levels will help your feel more comfortable.
Gradual age-related hearing loss will be a slow transition. It will be hard to notice the effects right away. Many times hearing trouble is pointed out by family members. They notice you misunderstanding something they said or saying, “what?” a lot. Maybe they notice your response to sounds has changed.
There’s no harm in getting testing done. You don’t know until you visit the experts. Either you have a normal hearing level or you have a harder time hearing and you get help. There is peace of mind that comes with knowing you are taking care of yourself.
Hearing aids can last from 3 to 7 years. However, it is important to get them checked every year. Hearing can slowly change, especially for adults with age-related hearing loss.
Changes in your job, living situation, or family life can put new demands on your hearing aids. If you were fitted for hearing aids when you had a different lifestyle, you may find yourself needing hearing aids with more capabilities.
Hearing technology is also always changing. There are a lot of advances and features that weren’t available just a few years ago. Hearing aids can do an amazing job of separating conversation from background noises. Hearing instruments are smarter than ever so checking in with your hearing care provider will make sure you have the best options for yourself.
There are Four Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is when sound is interrupted and doesn’t reach the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can usually be treated with medicine or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is when there is damage or a problem with the inner ear or hearing nerve.
Mixed hearing loss includes both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Auditory Neuropathy Disorder happens when sounds go through the ear normally but the signal does not make it to the brain, or at least not in a way the brain understands.
Treatment for hearing loss varies depending on the degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids turn up the volume on the world. Gradual, age-related hearing loss feels like someone very slowly turning the volume down on the radio. It could go unnoticed until someone came along and turned the volume back up. You had to work harder and harder to hear the radio when it was being turned down, without even realizing it.
Hearing Care Provider
A hearing care professional can perform a comprehensive hearing exam and answer all of your questions. Any hearing issue affects your quality of life and a doctor can help minimize that effect. Regular screenings will give you a good idea of your hearing health. Difficulty hearing can be treated right away and the sooner you get treatment the less impact it will have on your life.
A diagnosis will not change your level of hearing loss. It will only bring clarity to the situation so that you can make informed decisions for your life. Any possibility of hearing loss should be checked out so that you don’t miss out on anything in your world.
Sometimes the fear of change can keep us from getting tested. However, the test will only lead you to the tools you need to hear better. It’s a good change!