How Often Should I Get a Hearing Test?

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

It can feel overwhelming keeping up with your health at times, but obviously it’s completely worth it in the long run. While most people consider getting their teeth cleaned every six months and their eyes checked as a standard for health, many don’t think twice about keeping up with their hearing health.

Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions affecting older adults however, it can affect anyone at any age. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.1 billion people between 12 and 35 years old worldwide, are at risk of developing hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices at entertainment venues and due to headphone use. Diagnosing and treating a hearing loss early is essential to avoiding the many side effects of hearing loss, however many are unsure just how often you should test for hearing loss.

How Often Do You Need To Get A Hearing Test?

The answer to this question depends on your age, health and listening practices. Most people only need to be tested every 3 to 5 years. However, there are several factors which increase the likelihood that you have hearing loss.

You are Showing Signs of Hearing Loss

Many people are unaware of the signs of hearing loss. Knowing them can help you detect a possible issue before it starts to affect your relationships at home and at work, contributing to chronic depression, loneliness and social isolation. Common clues it may be time to schedule a hearing exam include:

  • Difficulty understanding conversation in noisy environments
  • You struggle to hear high pitched sounds such as alarms, doorbells or the voices of small children.
  • Your ears ring (Tinnitus)
  • People sound like they are mumbling
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • People complain your turn the TV up too loud when it sounds just fine to you
  • You struggle to hear people over the phone.

You are 60 years or older

Hearing loss can happen to anyone, however age-related hearing loss is the most common cause. Also known as presbycusis, age related hearing loss affects one in three people over the age of 65 and half of those 75 years or older. As you age it’s important to take the risk factor of hearing loss seriously. Presbycusis is often genetic so it’s important to take note if you have a family history increasing your risk as well.

You work in a noisy profession

The more often you are exposed to noise, the more likely your risk of hearing loss. The eight-hour work shift, five days a week or more, is the perfect storm of noise exposure to contribute to gradual and permanent hearing loss. If you work in a noisy profession, it’s important to test your hearing annually. Some of the noisiest professions include law enforcement, military, nightlife, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction. However, you may be surprised at some other professions which can be loud enough to damage hearing including noisy offices.

You already have hearing loss

This may be counter intuitive, but if you have hearing loss it is likely that it can get worse. Hearing loss is what is known as a progressive condition, so it’s important to attend regular hearing exams each year to monitor your hearing ability. If you are using hearing aids to treat your loss, the programing may need to be modified. In other instances, you may require a model with more power for your particular loss.

Why it is Essential to Have your Hearing Tested

Getting your hearing tested in recommended times can detect a hearing loss before it can impact your quality of life. Aside from the emotional impact of hearing loss, it can also increase the strain on your brain, causing cognitive decline and increasing the risk of dementia. In addition, it can contribute to an increased risk of falls and accidents leading to hospitalizations.

Improved Quality Of Life

While hearing loss is a permanent condition, it can be treated effectively using hearing aids. These amazing devices can be programmed based on your latest hearing exam to amplify only the sounds you need to hear. This can allow you to communicate with more confidence and clarity, improving relationships, self-confidence and empowering you to try new things. To find out what hearing aids can do for you, take the first step by scheduling your next hearing exam today.