If you think you could have hearing loss, you may be asking yourself if it is worth driving all the way to your Dallas audiology office to get your hearing tested. Our answer? An unequivocal yes. Unfortunately, according to a study conducted by Consumer Reports, many choose instead to go years without a diagnosis.
When Should You Get a Test?
While there is no specific guideline, most audiologists agree that you should complete a hearing screening every three years starting at age 50. For younger individuals, a screening every 10 years is appropriate.
A survey of more than 120,000 participants found that almost 30 percent went ten years or more without having their hearing tested. Some reported that they never received a hearing test.
Many wait to get a hearing test until they are sure they are experiencing hearing loss. But according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, it is common to underestimate your level of hearing loss. The researchers looked at 2,613 people over the age of 60. They found that 42 percent who reported they had no trouble hearing actually have mild hearing loss, diagnosed with a hearing exam.
The Importance of Hearing Tests
Even if you don’t think you have hearing loss, experts still recommend you have your hearing checked. This is because untreated hearing loss has been linked to a decrease in your general health and emotional well-being.
In addition, hearing loss is more likely to occur as you age. One-third of people between the ages of 65-75 experience hearing loss; that number increases to one in two for those over the age of 75.
Hearing loss has also been linked to common conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Know the Signs
In addition to following the screening schedule, you should have your hearing tested at the first sign of hearing loss. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, common signs of hearing loss include:
- “Muffled” hearing
- Asking for repetition
- Difficulty attending
- Difficulty understanding speech in noise
- Turning the volume up on the television/music
- Thinking others “mumble”
- Difficulty understanding speech on the telephone
- Difficulty understanding speech, particularly of women and children
- Rhyming mistakes – for example, hearing the high-pitched sound /t/ in the word tin as /f/ in the word fin
- Not participating in activities/isolating oneself
- Speaking too loudly or too softly
Get the Right Test
There are a series of hearing tests your audiologist may perform in order to determine your type and exact degree of hearing loss. These tests include:
- Pure tone testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Acoustic reflex testing
- Otoacoustic emissions
To learn more about the important of hearing exams or to schedule your own, contact the experts at Total Hearing Care of Dallas.