How Often Should I Get a Hearing Test?

When to Test for Hearing Loss

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

Regular healthcare checkups are essential to monitor our health as we age. While people are likely to schedule and attend annual physicals, dental exams, and vision tests, it’s far less likely to stay up to date with your hearing. Hearing loss is a condition which is often underestimated—what starts as a communication disorder will often affect the quality of your relationships, your ability to explore the world around you, as well as your cognitive and emotional health.  Untreated hearing loss can escalate into higher rates of cognitive decline, dementia and accidents leading to hospitalization. This means that the sooner you detect a hearing loss and treat it the better.  However, hearing loss often develops subtly and gradually—you may be living with it now and even realize it and just because you don’t know you have it, this doesn’t mean it is not affecting you right now and how you communicate with the people at home, at work and everywhere you go.  To stay on top of your hearing health it can be hard to know when it is time to have your hearing screens and tested. Here, we explain exactly when it may be time to test your hearing.

When to Test for Hearing Loss

The risk for hearing loss goes up as we age, however, hearing loss can occur to anyone at any time, regardless of age, class or demographic.  “Few adults give their hearing much thought unless they are experiencing a noticeable loss or a sudden change in their hearing ability,” says Paul Pietrzyk, Au.D., CCC-A, an audiologist with TriHealth. “By then, their options for treatment may be more limited, so it’s important to follow the guidelines to detect hearing loss early.”

Testing vs. screening for hearing loss

Do you suspect you have a hearing loss? It can sneak up on you and begin to affect your interactions and overall mood without realizing the exact cause. It is important to be proactive and know the common signs of hearing loss you can act before it becomes a larger issue. Before you get a hearing test we want to make sure you may be at risk. This is when a screening is helpful. While testing involves sitting in a sound-treated booth and having your hearing levels measured a screening is usually done to determine if a hearing test is needed. The good news is that you don’t even need to leave your home to know for sure if a hearing exam is needed. Take our online hearing screening to determine if you may require a full-fledged hearing exam

When to Get Tested for Hearing Loss

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) guidelines state that healthy adults ages 18-40 years old, who are not experiencing any noticeable hearing loss, should have their hearing tested every three to five years. However, Dr. Pietrzyk recommends that you test annually if you are part of these groups:

If you have confirmed hearing loss: If you have determined that you have hearing loss and have been treating it for years, with hearing aids or cochlear implants, this doesn’t mean you are exempt from further testing. Hearing loss can and often changes overtime. This means that even if you are already a hearing aid user or you have had a hearing loss in the past three years, then it may be time to schedule an updated exam.

People over the age of 60: Hearing loss can occur at any age but the risk goes up as we age. This means that once you reach the age of 60 it may be a good idea to schedule annual exams whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.

You work in a noisy profession or engage in noisy hobbies: Noise-induced hearing loss is   the second most common cause of hearing loss and is one of the biggest factors affecting younger people’s hearing. If you have a noisy job, or enjoy concerts, hunting, riding motorcycles or any other hobby, then it is a good idea to use hearing protection whenever possible to test hearing annually.

Schedule a Hearing Exam Today

If you are feeling like it’s harder to hear people in your life or having issues hearing over the phone or the TV, then it may be time to schedule a hearing exam. Don’t let hearing loss sneak up on you. If you feel like you are at risk, schedule a hearing exam with us today.