If you haven’t had your hearing tested since your grade school days, you’re not by yourself. Sadly, we have a habit of treating hearing loss reactively instead of proactively, and a routine adult physical typically doesn’t include a hearing test. As a matter of fact, even when they recognize they have loss of hearing, the majority of people neglect it for as many as seven years which can severely impact your health. In fact, untreated hearing loss has been proven to increase your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, hearing exams are easy, painless, and provide a wealth of information for our professionals to help you, both for diagnosing hearing concerns and evaluating whether interventions such as hearing aids are working. A full audiometry exam is more involved than what you might remember from childhood and you won’t get a sticker or a lollipop when it’s done but you’ll get a far clearer understanding of your hearing.
While you may not give the condition of your hearing as much thought as you would the health of your teeth or your eyes, it is important that you regularly get your hearing examined. You may not notice a problem with your hearing for a long time. Hearing loss often occurs gradually, and the sooner you recognize an issue with your hearing, the sooner you might be able to fix it.
When Should You Get Examined?
Normally the hospital will test newborns for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children undergo formal hearing examinations when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years of age and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness visits with their doctors.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 45, it is recommended that you have your hearing examined every five years and then more frequently as you get older. You need to get tested every three years if you are 46 to 60 years old and then every two years after you turn 60. But you may need to get tested more frequently. Your individual circumstances will dictate when you should get an exam. If you notice your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, you should have it checked immediately. Untreated loss of hearing has been connected to mental decline, depression and a greater risk of falls and other health problems. Your ability to do work effectively and your relationships can also be affected.
And you should have a hearing exam, in some circumstances, as soon as possible if you have hearing loss that is getting quickly worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- 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
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another consideration. You should have your hearing tested more often, for example, if you are exposed to loud noise or if hearing loss runs in your family.
Also, over 200 ototoxic medications exist. These drugs can be extremely harmful for your hearing and they range from certain antibiotics to aspirin. 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, consider getting more regular hearing testing so you can deal with any hearing loss immediately.
Also, consider your habits and whether they might contribute to hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? Hearing loss has substantially increased in younger people, and many experts think that this is due to the use of headphones and earbuds. Your hearing can also be substantially harmed by loud concerts, shows, and machinery. If you think that it’s time for you to get your hearing checked, schedule an appointment today.