The goal of a hearing test, which is best provided by a hearing health professional, is to ensure that any occurrence of hearing loss is addressed and that further risk to your hearing loss is prevented. Hearing loss affects over one-tenth of all adults in the country, including many who don’t fall into commonly known risk factors like exposure to loud noise or older age. As such, you should know when to have your hearing tested to make sure you’re aware of the risks and of your own hearing health.
You have reason to suspect that you might have hearing loss
Naturally, if you’re worried about your hearing at all, that’s a perfectly good time to see your hearing health professional. Sudden hearing loss can be caused by a plethora of issues, such as earwax build-up and infection. Treating these conditions sooner, rather than later, can help get rid of the problem entirely. However, letting them linger can increase the risk of doing permanent damage.
Other symptoms are more gradual. If you’re experiencing muffled speech or sounds, have trouble understanding people when they’re speaking (especially higher-pitched volumes) or you find yourself avoiding conversations and social settings, it could be a sign of hearing loss. Your hearing health professional can help you get to the bottom of it and, if necessary, help you find the treatment for any existing hearing loss.
You fall under the common risk factors
Anyone can be at danger of developing hearing loss, even those without risk significant risk factors. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the increased risk that you could be under if any of the following risk factors apply to you:
- Exposure to loud noise (such as construction tools, lawnmowers or music)
- Over the age of 50
- Trauma to the head
- Sleep apnea
- Ototoxic medications (many can potentially affect your hearing)
If any of these risk factors apply to you, then you should consider arranging a hearing test with your ear doctor more frequently than most. Visiting them during your yearly physical can help you stay on top of your hearing health condition.
When it’s been long enough since your last test
If you haven’t had a hearing test since you were a child, then it’s time to arrange an appointment with the ear doctor. Even if your hearing is perfectly clear, it’s a good idea to arrange what is known as a baseline test around the age of 18-21. This is a test that provides a reference for future tests, to help show you the extent of hearing loss you might suffer in the future. Many recommend you arrange a hearing test once every ten years, but plenty of people prefer to make it part of their annual physical.
Don’t feel like you have to be limited to the reasoning given above. If you feel like you need or want to have your hearing tested by your ear doctor, it’s best to clear any concerns and make an appointment. There’s no such thing as too careful when it comes to protecting your hearing health.