HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GO FOR A HEARING TEST?
It’s easy to take your hearing for granted when you can hear well and aren’t having any issues. However, there may come a day when you do start to experience hearing loss and aren’t sure what to do or where to turn.
It’s good practice to get a hearing test and find out the status of how well you can hear. You may be thinking that’s a wise idea, but how often should I go? Continue reading to find out more about what to expect at a hearing test and the guidelines for how frequently you should see an audiologist. Scheduling these appointments will help to ensure you’re aware of any signs of hearing loss and are taking preventative measures against it.
SCREENING VS TESTING
You have two options, either to have a hearing screening or a hearing test. It’s important to know the difference so that you’re receiving the right care. To identify if you have any hearing loss, you’ll want to do a screening. It’s going to detect your ability to hear particular sounds in certain situations. For this exam, you’ll typically either receive a pass or a fail outcome. If you fail the screening, then you’ll want to move forward with further testing to understand better the depth and type of hearing loss you’re experiencing. The recommendation is that you receive a screening regularly to confirm your hearing is in good standing.
As for a hearing test, audiologists will use a variety of types of tests to evaluate your ability to hear sound. They’re non-invasive, so there’s no need to be worried or anxious about a hearing test. These tests will also tell an audiologist if the components of your ears responsible for your hearing are operating optimally. Experts recommend that people ages 18-40 without any noticeable hearing loss should get their hearing tested every three to five years.
WHO SHOULD GET TESTED MORE OFTEN?
Although the general guidelines say to get tested every three to five years, this doesn’t hold true for everyone. There are certain circumstances you should know about that will require that you get tested more frequently. For example, if you’re over the age of 60, are exposed to loud noises regularly, or already have hearing loss, then it’s advised you get your hearing tested at least once a year. Anyone and everyone should pay attention to their hearing.
If you notice any sudden changes in your ability to hear, then you should contact an audiologist immediately and schedule an appointment for an evaluation. A few warning signs that you should be on the lookout for include muffling of speech, difficulty understanding words, trouble hearing consonants, asking others to continually repeat themselves and having to turn up the volume on the television or radio.
WHAT TO EXPECT
You may be nervous or hesitant about getting a hearing test because you’re unsure of what to expect. Typically, they’ll occur in a quiet and sound-treated room so that other noises don’t become a distraction. Your environment can sway the results, so it’s important different and external sounds or noises aren’t getting in the way. When it’s time to administer the test, your audiologist will have you wear headphones or soft earplugs that will connect to an audiometer. This instrument is what they will use to conduct your hearing test. If you look around the room, you may see specially placed speakers which they use to test infants, small children and people who are wearing hearing aids already and require testing.
The audiologist will communicate to you via your headphones and will have you listen to tones at different pitches and levels, which is called pure tone audiometry. The test can measure the softest sounds you can hear at each frequency. Furthermore, you’ll likely also participate in speech audiometry as part of your hearing test. It’ll consist of using recorded or live speech instead of pure tones. They will ask you to repeat back words to measure how well you can understand what you’re hearing.
Part of living a healthy lifestyle and taking good care of yourself includes testing your hearing. You should now have a better idea of what to expect at your appointment and how often you should see an audiologist. If you notice your hearing isn’t like it was in the past, then it’s best to receive a second opinion. Have you been putting this important task off and are ready to schedule your next hearing exam or test? If so, then act today by contacting the office of Dr. Richard J. Strauch, North Central Hearing Associates at (570) 724-4042.