Hearing loss can affect how you work, communicate, and relax. However, many patients undergo substantial hearing loss before they seek the help and advice of a professional because the symptoms are not always obvious.
One of the best ways to catch hearing loss early is to undergo hearing tests as needed. But when do you need them?
In this blog, we list five guidelines for hearing test frequency.
1. It’s Been 5 Years Since Your Last Test
You probably schedule a routine physical each year. Your medical screening for hearing loss should be just as consistent. If you are between the ages of 18 and 45, you should have your hearing tested once every five years.
Even if you don’t think your hearing has changed since your last test, make a routine screening part of your health care routine.
2. You Experience Abnormal Aural Symptoms
While most hearing loss occurs gradually and without obvious symptoms, certain symptoms can indicate a higher risk of hearing loss. For example, if you experience ringing in your ears, clinically known as tinnitus, you should have your hearing tested.
Have your hearing tested if sounds become muffled, you experience ear discomfort, or you experience frequent ear infections.
3. You Suspect That Your Hearing Has Changed
If you think your hearing has changed, it probably has. A professional test can identify the extent of your hearing loss and give you the tools you need to maintain your current quality of life.
You may realize your hearing has changed if you have trouble carrying on conversations in loud places, need the volume on your television or music turned up higher than usual, or need people to repeat themselves.
4. You’re at High Risk for Hearing Loss
You may need hearing tests more frequently than every five years if you are at high risk of hearing loss. Risk factors include:
- Age—People in specific age demographics are more likely to experience hearing loss. Read on to section five to see if you’re part of an at-risk age group.
- Certain illnesses—Illnesses that result in very high fever can damage the inner ear, causing hearing issues.
- Certain medication—Medication such as some chemotherapy drugs and the antibiotic gentamicin can contribute to hearing loss.
- Family history—If you have family members with degenerative hearing loss, you may need more frequent tests.
- Occupation—If you work with explosives, machinery, or other loud noises, you have a higher risk of hearing loss.
- Recreation—People who listen to loud music in headphones, participate in recreational shooting, or who ride snowmobiles and motorcycles have a high risk of hearing loss.
If you are unsure whether or not you are at risk of hearing loss, discuss your medical history with your primary care doctor.
5. You’re in the Right Age Range for Testing
In addition to the general adult guideline for hearing testing, you should undergo hearing tests at specific ages. The guidelines are as follows:
- General screening for infants
- First hearing test between ages 2 and 3
- School hearing test between ages 5 and 7
- Tests every three years between ages 45 and 60
- Tests every two years after age 60
Hearing loss is not considered a normal part of aging. However, hearing loss occurs more frequently in older people.
As with many conditions, early detection may limit the severity of your hearing loss or make it easier to adjust to living with impaired hearing. Follow the guidelines above and get tested as needed.
Are you overdue for a hearing test? Come to Absolute Vision Care for your free hearing test and ear canal inspection. If we find that you are experiencing hearing loss, our professionals can help you determine your next best step.