You don’t need to feel like your alone if you haven’t had a hearing examination since you were a youngster. Sadly, we have a habit of treating hearing loss reactively rather than proactively, and a routine adult physical usually doesn’t include a hearing test. In fact, even when they realize they have hearing loss, most people neglect it for up to seven years which can seriously impact your health. In fact, untreated loss of hearing has been proven to increase your healthcare costs over the years.
The good news, hearing tests 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 like 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 get a much 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 crucial that you regularly have your hearing checked. It can be a considerable time before you recognize that there is something wrong with your hearing. Hearing loss usually happens slowly, and the sooner you recognize a problem with your hearing, the sooner you may be able to deal with it.
How do You Know When You Should be Examined?
Usually the hospital will test newborns for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children have formal hearing examinations when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years of age and that teenagers should have hearing tests during wellness visits with their physicians.
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 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 you might need to get tested more frequently. The regularity with which you should get examined will really depend on your individual situation. You should have your hearing tested immediately if you notice it isn’t as good as it once was. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to mental decline, depression and increased risk of falls and other health issues. Your ability to do work effectively and your relationships can also be influenced.
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:
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
- You are experiencing vertigo
- There is earwax buildup or you had an ear infection
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
Another consideration is whether you are at a higher risk for hearing loss. For example, if hearing loss runs in your family or you are exposed to loud noises regularly you should have your hearing checked more regularly.
There are also more than 200 ototoxic medicines. From Aspirin to some antibiotics, these medications can be very harmful to your hearing. Consult your doctor to make certain any medicines you are taking aren’t impacting your hearing. If you need to take a medication that you know is ototoxic, think about getting more regular hearing testing so you can manage any hearing loss immediately.
Also, consider your habits and whether they might contribute to hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? There’s been a noticeable rise in younger people with hearing loss, which many experts connect to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. Your hearing can also be significantly harmed by machinery, shows, or loud concerts. If you feel that it’s time for you to have your hearing tested, schedule an appointment today.