When it comes to looking after our health, there are several regular checkups we need to keep on top of to ensure that we’re at peak wellness. For example, it’s recommended that you get your teeth checked every six months and your eyes checked every two years, but what about your ears? How often should you get a hearing test?
Hearing loss can occur at any age and for a variety of reasons, but it’s a health concern that many of us probably don’t think about. As with your teeth and eyes, though, there can still be a problem, even when everything seems fine.
If you haven’t had a hearing test before, now’s the time to get one, as it’ll give you a baseline of where your hearing is currently at. If there are no problems, it’s important to schedule further hearing tests every 10 years, which will allow you to compare your hearing as you age and monitor any signs of hearing loss.
As many of us are likely familiar with visiting the dentist and optician, we know exactly what to expect, but what exactly is involved in a hearing test? A hearing audiologist will conduct the following four steps, which should take roughly 30 minutes in total.
1. Reviewing Your Hearing History
First of all, your hearing audiologist will ask you a series of questions to find out if there’s any part of your lifestyle that could contribute to hearing loss, such as a loud working environment. If you’ve noticed anything different about your hearing recently or you have any concerns, this is the time to let them know.
2. Examining Your Ears
Next, the audiologist will examine the outer and middle parts of your ears closely using a small camera. This is a painless procedure that looks for any possible causes of hearing loss, including excess earwax or inflammation from an infection.
3. Conducting a Pure Tone Audiometry Hearing Test
At this stage of the hearing test, you’ll be given a pair of headphones to wear. Then, a range of high and low pitch beeps will be played to you. Each beep is repeated at faint levels to find the quietest sound you can hear. Every time you hear a beep, you’ll be asked to press a button, which tells your hearing audiologist when you can hear a sound. The process will then be repeated with a vibrating device placed behind your ear, after which you’ll be played the same series of beeps.
You’re all done! Now, your hearing audiologist will examine the results to determine whether or not hearing loss is a problem and to what extent. If your audiologist has any concerns, they’ll explain them clearly to you and recommend next steps. These might be to make simple lifestyle adjustments or to wear protective hearing gear at work, but if a hearing device is recommended, such as a hearing aid or cochlear implant, you’ll be given all the information you need to determine the best option for you.
Otherwise, if there are no signs of hearing loss, use these results as your hearing baseline for when you have your next test. In just half an hour you’ll be done — at least that’s one checkup you can cross off your list!