If you haven’t had your hearing tested since you were in grade school, you’re not alone. Regrettably, we have a habit of treating hearing loss reactively rather than proactively, and a normal adult checkup typically doesn’t include a hearing test. Most people disregard hearing loss, even when they are cognizant of it, for as many as seven years which can significantly affect your health. In fact, untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your healthcare costs in the long run.
The good news, hearing exams are simple, painless, and provide a wealth of facts for our experts to assist 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 may 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.
While you might not give the state of hearing as much thought as you would the health of your eyes or your teeth, it is important that you routinely have your hearing checked. You may not detect something wrong with your hearing for a long time. Hearing loss normally occurs gradually, and the earlier 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 Tested?
Usually the hospital will test babies for hearing loss before they send them home. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children have formal hearing exams when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years of age and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness visits with their physicians.
If you are between the ages of 18 to 45, it is recommended that you get your hearing tested every five years and then more frequently as you get older. After you turn 60 you should be examined every two years and if you are between 46 and 60 every three. But you might need to get checked more often. Your unique circumstances will dictate when you need to get an exam. If you find that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, you should have it checked immediately. Quite a few health issues are associated with untreated hearing loss, such as increased chance of falling, mental decline, and depression. Your ability to do work effectively and your relationships can also be affected.
There are also circumstances in which you should have a hearing exam as soon as you can to address hearing loss that could get worse. The following situations indicate that you should get a hearing test right away:
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- 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
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. You should get your hearing tested more often, as an example, if you are exposed to loud noise or if loss of hearing runs in your family.
Also, more than 200 ototoxic medications exist. These drugs can be quite harmful for your hearing and they range from certain antibiotics to aspirin. In order to make certain none of your medications are impacting your ears, consult your doctor. Think about getting your hearing tested more regularly in order to address any hearing loss right away if you are taking any ototoxic medications.
Also, think about how your habits could be impacting your hearing loss. Regularly using your earbuds? There’s been a significant rise in younger people with hearing loss, which many experts connect to the increased use of earbuds and other headsets. Your ears can also be significantly harmed by loud concerts, shows, and machinery. If you feel that it’s time for you to get your hearing tested, schedule an appointment today.