In 2008, the American Academy of Audiology named October ‘National Audiology Awareness Month.’ The Academy has been encouraging regular hearing screening and hearing protection ever since. The objective is to causes us all to re-examine how important hearing is to us in our everyday life, and remain vigilant in protecting this important sense.
But how often should you have your hearing checked? And why is it so important?
It’s a saying as old as time, and many of us understand it. This is why we are willing to accept a regular check up at the doctors, dentists, and even the opticians. But for some reason, we neglect our hearing until we notice a problem. Only one our hearing is affected do we realize how much of an impact it can have on our everyday life.
Routine hearing screenings are done as a newborn and regularly as a child. In an adult (18-50 years old) with healthy hearing, a baseline hearing evaluation should be done by a doctor or audiologist around once every 5-6 years. As we age, hearing loss becomes more likely, therefore requiring more regular evaluations. Over the age of 50, this screening should increase to every 3 years. Adults over 60 are recommended to have a hearing evaluation once every 1-2 years.
Screening checks your ability to hear certain sounds, and helps to identify any hearing loss. It is a simple pass or fail test. If you fail, it indicates that you have a degree of hearing loss and further testing is needed.
Hearing evaluations identify what type, and how much hearing loss you have. They enable the audiologist to find the cause and treatment options. There are many parts to these tests, including the taking of a history and a check of your ears for wax. Insert headphones are also used, where patients will listen and respond to sounds of different frequencies. This hearing evaluation determines your hearing threshold, where the hearing loss resides in the ear. Other tests may be carried out, depending on the advice of your audiologist.
How often your hearing is evaluated depends on a few things. Age, risk of hearing loss, baseline results and general health. Individuals at high risk, such as those who are regularly exposed to loud noise, may be advised to have yearly tests.
If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, it is best to arrange an evaluation ASAP:
Hearing loss occurs gradually and it is difficult to notice until it becomes profound, by which time the damage is already done. By knowing your risks and getting regular checks, any changes can be detected early and your hearing health protected. For more information or to book your hearing evaluation today, contact us on (970) 352-2881.