If you haven’t had your hearing tested since you were in grade school, you’re not alone. It’s not normally part of a routine adult physical and sadly, we often deal with hearing reactively instead of proactively. Most people neglect hearing loss, even when they are cognizant of it, for up to seven years which can significantly affect 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 give a wide range of facts for our experts to assist you, both for diagnosing hearing problems and assessing whether interventions like 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 finished but you’ll get a far clearer understanding of your hearing.
It’s essential that you routinely have your hearing examined even though you might not normally give your hearing as much consideration as your teeth or eyes. It can be a long time before you recognize that there is something wrong with your hearing. Loss of hearing normally happens slowly, and the earlier you detect an issue with your hearing, the sooner you might be able to fix it.
How do You Know When You Should be Tested?
All newborns should be evaluated for hearing loss, and normally, the hospital handles that before they are sent home. Teenagers should be tested during routine exams with their doctors and children should have formal hearing assessments at the ages of 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s suggested that if you are between the ages of 18 and 49, you have your hearing examined every five years and then, as you get older, more often. After you turn 60 you should get examined every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three years. But you might need to get tested more frequently. The frequency with which you should get tested will ultimately depend on your specific situation. You should get your hearing checked right away if you notice it isn’t as good as it used to be. Neglected loss of hearing has been associated with mental decline, depression and a greater risk of falling and other health problems. Your ability to work efficiently and your relationships can also be influenced.
There are also some circumstances in which you should get a hearing exam as soon as possible to address loss of hearing that could get worse. An immediate hearing test is advisable if:
- Conversations are difficult to hear when you are in a crowded area especially
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- It is difficult to pinpoint where sounds are coming from
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
- Your ears have constant ringing in them
- You are experiencing vertigo
Another factor is whether you are at a greater risk for hearing loss. As an example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are exposed to loud noises regularly you should have your hearing examined more frequently.
Also, more than 200 ototoxic medications exist. From Aspirin to some antibiotics, these medications can be very harmful to your hearing. Consult your doctor to make sure any medicines you are taking aren’t affecting your hearing. Think about getting your hearing tested more regularly in order to address any hearing loss immediately if you are using any ototoxic medications.
Also, think about your habits and whether they may contribute to hearing loss. Are you using earbuds regularly? Hearing loss has significantly increased in younger people, and many experts believe that this is due to the use of headphones and earbuds. Your ears can also be substantially damaged by machinery, shows, or loud concerts. If you think that it’s time for you to get your hearing checked, schedule an appointment today.