When and how often you should get your hearing checked depends on a number of factors. Do you suspect you already have hearing loss? Or do you have documented hearing loss?
Your age and occupation are other big considerations.
Testing vs. screening for hearing loss
Testing is conducted when you, a loved one, or your healthcare provider believe you have hearing loss due to the fact that you’re dealing with hearing loss signs and symptoms. A hearing exam involves sitting in a sound-treated booth and having your hearing levels measured. This kind of test is often referred to by professionals as a “comprehensive hearing evaluation.”
Screening is usually done when you don’t have any symptoms of hearing loss Screening is usually faster and less complicated than testing, such as answering a questionnaire, like our online hearing test. If you are exposed to high noise levels on the job, you are often required to participate in a screening program to check your hearing ability.
If you have confirmed hearing loss.
If you already know you have hearing loss and have previously been tested — you should be retested occasionally , as determined between you and your hearing doctor. You should always pay close attention to your hearing if you know you have experienced hearing loss, and get it examined right away if you notice a change.
Why? Hearing loss is dynamic, meaning it changes over time. However, sometimes the changes can be so subtle you may not notice. (Yet those around you probably do!).
Hearing aids need to be checked, too.
If you wear hearing aids, it’s important to note that you’ll eventually need them adjusted. In general, the lifespan of a hearing aid is three to seven years. You may even need a new pair, especially if your hearing loss has progressed from moderate to severe, or your hearing aids are outdated and not working well anymore.
Hearing testing for other at-risk people.
Newborns, infants and school-age children are regularly screened for hearing loss. But what about adults?
Generally, young adults and middle-age adults who aren’t noticing any problems with their hearing do not need annual hearing screening.
But there are two groups of people who should get screened for hearing loss at least every few years:.
Older adults: Generally, people 60 and older should have a baseline hearing test, and get retested every few years. (We say “generally” because medical organizations generally disagree on when an older adult with no symptoms should have their first hearing test, and how often they should get rechecked.) This will rule out age-related hearing loss.
Occupations in noisy environments: If you’re regularly exposed to sounds louder than about 85 decibels, no matter your age, it’s a good idea to get a hearing exam every few years.
If you suspect you have hearing loss.
If you don’t fall into any of these guidelines, but feel like your hearing isn’t normal, always get it checked out. That’s because some medications and health conditions like otosclerosis can cause hearing loss in middle-aged and young adults.
If you suddenly develop hearing loss in one ear, it’s a medical emergency. Seek help right away.
Hearing loss harms your quality of life– and your health.
Why is it important to catch hearing loss early on? While society has a tendency to dismiss mild hearing loss as harmless, in reality hearing impacts nearly every facet of your life, including your brain health. Even mild hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline.
Fortunately, hearing aids have health benefits that combat many of these impacts.
Find a hearing doctor.
Ready to get help? Find a hearing doctor near you in our directory.