You don’t need to feel like your alone if you haven’t had a hearing exam since you were a youngster. It isn’t usually part of a routine adult physical and unfortunately, we tend to treat hearing reactively instead of proactively. The majority of people disregard hearing loss, even when they are cognizant of it, for up to seven years which can significantly impact your health. In fact, untreated loss of hearing has been proven to increase your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, hearing exams are simple, pain-free, and provide a wealth of information for our professionals to help you, both for diagnosing hearing problems and assessing whether interventions like hearing aids are working. A full audiometry test is more involved than what you might remember from childhood and you won’t get a lollipop or a sticker when it’s done but you’ll get a far clearer understanding of your hearing.
It’s important that you regularly have your hearing tested even though you may not normally give your hearing as much consideration as your teeth or eyes. It can be a considerable time before you recognize that there is an issue with your hearing. Because loss of hearing normally occurs gradually over time it’s not easy to detect it at first, but the sooner you can, the more likely you will be able to successfully treat it.
When Should You Get Examined?
Usually the hospital will screen infants for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have formal hearing screenings when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old and that teenagers should have hearing tests during wellness appointments with their physicians.
If you are in between the ages of 18 to 45, it is recommended that you have your hearing checked every five years and then more frequently as you get older. After you turn 60 you need to get examined every two years and if you are between 46 and 60 every three years. But don’t let that to stop you. Your unique circumstances will determine when you need to get a test. You should get your hearing checked right away if you find that it isn’t as good as it used to be. Several health problems are associated with untreated hearing loss, like increased chance of falling, cognitive decline, and depression. It can also influence your relationships and your ability to work effectively.
There are also some situations in which you should have a hearing test as soon as possible 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
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
- You are experiencing vertigo
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. For example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are subjected to loud noises regularly you should get your hearing checked more regularly.
Also, over 200 ototoxic medications exist. These medications can be extremely harmful for your hearing and they range from certain antibiotics to aspirin. So that you can be sure none of your medications are impacting your ears, consult your doctor. Think about getting your hearing tested more regularly in order to address any loss of hearing right away if you are taking any ototoxic medications.
Also, think about your habits and whether they may contribute to hearing loss. Constantly using your earbuds? Hearing loss has substantially increased in younger people, and many experts believe that this is because of the use of headphones and earbuds. Your hearing can also be substantially harmed by loud concerts, shows, and machinery. If you feel that it’s time for you to get your hearing examined, schedule an appointment today.