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You may not be the first person to know that you have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is typically very gradual – it is almost impossible to notice changes in your hearing health. In the meantime, you might make unconscious adjustments that will help you hear, such as raising the volume on the TV. And you might not know that any of the sounds around you are missing.
A family member will likely be the first to notice your hearing loss. When they remark you don’t often hear the stove beeping or that you cannot hear it from another room when they call you, take it seriously.
Depending on your hearing health, there are two main ways hearing professionals use your hearing test:
- To set up a baseline: It’s important to stress that a hearing test which doesn’t find hearing loss is not a waste of time. To recognize when hearing loss becomes a problem, even younger adults will benefit from a hearing test. Updating your baseline measurement regularly is essential, and your age determines how often you need to get that test.
- To track the progression of hearing loss: Hearing loss doesn’t stay still – it evolves, so we will want to keep track of your ability to hear over time. For general record-keeping of your condition, hearing loss progression tests are used. If the test shows a considerable change from your initial hearing aid prescription, your hearing aid will need reprogramming. They also clarify to a hearing specialist whether a particular set of hearing aids will better serve you.
How often should you check your hearing?
Newborns and school-age children have their hearing tested during health screenings. But for adults, there are few opportunities for routine screening. So how much you should be screened for your hearing depends on a few variables, including age, occupation, and your current degree of hearing loss.
- Those 18-40 years of age: Adults between the ages of 18-40 should have their hearing checked every 3-5 years, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) guidelines. This is ideal for those who have no hearing loss signs and are not frequently exposed to excessive noise.
- Those 60 years and older: With age, the risk of experiencing age-related hearing loss, also referred to as presbycusis, rises. Experts suggest that individuals in this age group have their hearing checked annually.
- Those who are regularly exposed to loud noise: Another common cause of hearing loss is consistent (or one-time) exposure to loud noise. The workplace and the frequent use of personal audio devices are common ways individuals can expose themselves to harmful noise levels. People who work or spend time in extreme noise environments should also have their hearing checked every year due to this significantly increased hearing loss risk.
What about those who already have hearing loss?
People who have already been diagnosed and treated for hearing loss should still check their hearing every year. The ability to hear will change over time, so it is essential to assess your hearing needs regularly.
You should also undergo regular hearing checks if you have hearing loss and are currently wearing hearing aids. You don’t stop going for eye tests if you’ve been prescribed a pair of glasses, and it’s the same for your hearing health. We suggest that wearers with hearing aids have a hearing test annually.
If there are any changes to your hearing condition, you’ll be able to get a hearing professional to reprogram your device. They may even recommend a new type – many of the more discreet hearing aids are only equipped to serve those with mild to moderate hearing loss. If your hearing loss progresses to a severe level, a Behind-the-ear hearing aid might be in order.
Are hearing tests painful?
Hearing checks are non-invasive and painless. Most occur in a soundproof room or enclosure built to keep out any other noises (such as the heater, air conditioner, or office setting) that can influence your hearing test scores. You will be required to wear headphones or soft earplugs attached to a machine with wires called an audiometer to perform the test.
If you’ve never had a hearing test at all, then take this opportunity to make an appointment to learn about your baseline hearing level. To make an appointment, contact us today!