If you haven’t had your hearing checked since you were in grade school, you’re not alone. It’s not commonly part of a routine adult physical and sadly, we often deal with hearing reactively instead of proactively. Most people ignore hearing loss, even when they are aware of it, for up to seven years which can significantly impact your health. As a matter of fact, untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your healthcare costs over time.
The good news, hearing exams are easy, painless, and provide a wealth of information for our experts to assist you, both for diagnosing hearing problems and assessing whether interventions like hearing aids are working. When you were younger, you may recall the audiometry test from school, but a full hearing exam will give you a clearer understanding of your hearing without a sticker or a lollipop.
It’s crucial that you regularly have your hearing checked even though you might 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 a problem with your hearing. Because loss of hearing commonly takes place slowly over time it’s not easy to notice it at first, but the sooner you can, the more likely you will be able to successfully treat it.
How do You Know When You Should be Examined?
All infants should be tested for hearing loss, and usually, the hospital takes care of that before they are released. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children have formal hearing screenings when they are 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old and that teenagers should have hearing exams during wellness appointments with their physicians.
It’s recommended that if you are between the ages of 18 and 49, you get your hearing examined every five years and then, as you get older, more often. After you turn 60 you should get checked every two years and if you are in between 46 and 60 every three. But you might need to get checked more frequently. Your unique circumstances will dictate when you need to get a test. You should have your hearing checked immediately 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 increased risk of falling and other health concerns. It can also affect your relationships and your ability to work effectively.
There are also some circumstances in which you should have a hearing exam as soon as possible to address loss of hearing that could get worse. The following scenarios indicate that you need to get a hearing test right away:
- You are experiencing vertigo
- Pinpointing where sounds are coming from is difficult
- You are unable to hear conversations, particularly when in crowded areas
- Your ear was infected, or there was a buildup of earwax
- You are experiencing a constant ringing in your ears
- You find yourself having to constantly ask people to repeat themselves
Whether you are at risk of hearing loss is another factor. As an example, if loss of hearing runs in your family or you are subjected to loud noises on a regular basis you should have your hearing examined more often.
There are also more than 200 ototoxic medicines. These medications can be quite harmful for your hearing and they range from certain antibiotics to aspirin. In order to be sure none of your medications are affecting your ears, check with your doctor. Consider having your hearing tested more often in order to address any hearing loss right away if you are using any ototoxic medications.
Also, think about how your habits may be affecting your hearing loss. Constantly 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 hearing can also be substantially damaged by loud concerts, shows, and machinery. Schedule your hearing exam today if it’s time for you to get your hearing examined.