There are certain tests in life you’re fully prepared to take, and have (hopefully) studied for; algebra exams and driving tests spring to mind immediately. But few people in American Fork or elsewhere give hearing tests much thought. The reality is, we probably should.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Most people take their hearing for granted, giving it about as much thought as breathing. Even when hearing loss occurs, the symptoms often develop so gradually you may not be aware of them. Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to serious complications including anxiety, stress, depression, isolation, and a variety of physical problems. Early detection is the best way to prevent many of these side effects, but it’s unlikely you’ll visit an audiologist for a hearing test unless you are able to recognize the signs of hearing loss.
Common indications that your hearing might be impaired include:
- The feeling that people mumble when they speak.
- Difficulty understanding higher-pitched voices, especially women and children.
- Frequently saying “what?” and asking others to repeat themselves.
- Avoiding social situations.
- Turning the volume up loudly when watching TV or listening to music.
When to Schedule a Hearing Test
If you are exhibiting any of the signs listed above, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a hearing aid doctor to have your hearing tested. But even if nothing on this list applies to you, it’s still imperative to make hearing tests a routine part of your medical care.
Even if you think your hearing is fine, subtle changes may be occurring. There’s a reason it takes the average Utah resident with hearing loss seven years to see an audiologist and get their hearing checked: in most cases, symptoms develop gradually, and your brain adjusts to the lack of sensory input automatically, compensating for changes in your hearing by utilizing mental resources to focus on hearing. But this comes with a price; these cognitive resources are being diverted from somewhere else, meaning you may be sacrificing things such as memory in order to hear better. The long-term consequences of this can be severe; hearing loss patients have an increased risk of dementia later in life.
For these reasons, it’s important to schedule regular hearing tests – even if you aren’t noticing any problems!
Though recommendations vary, most audiologists recommend a hearing test every three to five years if you are between the ages of 18 and 50. After that, shoot for a hearing test every 1-3 years. At age 65, you should receive an annual hearing test. Just think of it as being no different than a dental checkup or vision exam. Obviously, if you are showing signs of hearing loss, your doctor will want to schedule hearing tests on a more regular basis.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your hearing tested, now is the time to contact an audiologist and schedule an exam.