How Often Should You Have Your Hearing Tested By An Audiologist
Most people are accustomed to making regular health checkups a routine part of their medical care. Annual physicals, dental exams, and vision tests are all commonplace; however, few individuals pay as much attention to their hearing. How often you have your hearing tested depends on a few factors, one being age.
- Childhood: Newborn hearing screenings are essential, of course, and regular checkups throughout childhood are commonplace. Children should have their hearing tested prior to starting kindergarten, before starting any speech therapy plan or if there are any educational concerns.
- Adulthood: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) guidelines state that healthy adults ages 18-40 years old, who are not experiencing any noticeable hearing loss, should have their hearing tested every three to five years.
We recommend more frequent diagnostic hearing testing for any of the following individuals:
- People over the age of 60: Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. Annual hearing tests are recommended for all adults beginning at the age of 60, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. As we age, cumulative damage to the hair cells in the inner ear becomes more prevalent, affecting the ability to understand high frequencies. One out of three adult’s experiences presbycusis by the age of 65; that number increases to one out of two by the age of 75.
- People who are exposed to loud noises: Noise-induced hearing loss is almost as common as presbycusis, and affects individuals of all ages. Those who are frequently exposed to loud noises have a higher risk of suffering permanent damage to their hearing. These individuals should have their hearing tested once a year. Noise-induced hearing loss affects:
- People who work in noisy environments (construction or factory workers, dentists, musicians, firemen and teachers),
- People who regularly participate in noisy activities (concerts, hunting, riding motorcycles), or
- People who are employed in professions where sudden loud noises are common (law enforcement and the military)
- People with hearing loss: This might seem counterproductive, but even if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss and wear hearing aids, it is more important than ever to have your hearing tested on a regular basis. Your hearing may continue to change over time, it is important that your hearing aids are properly programmed to ensure you are receiving the maximum benefit. These individuals should have their hearing tested once a year.
- Diabetics: If you have a health concern such as diabetes it is important to have your hearing tested annually. Over time, blood sugar levels that are too high or too low can damage nerves that affect your hearing in the same manner that they affect your vision. These individuals should have their hearing tested once a year.
- Cancer patients: If you are battling cancer and having chemotherapy treatments and/or taking ototoxic drugs you should have a baseline test immediately and hearing tests done every couple of months to make sure there is not a severe hearing degradation during your treatment.
- Vertigo: A hearing test should always be part of your dizziness workup. Certain conditions show up on the audiometric graph which will lead to possible earlier diagnosis of the condition responsible for your vertigo.
- Tinnitus: Anyone suffering from ringing or noises in their ear should have their hearing tested right away. Tinnitus is the first symptom of many audiological disorders. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are several ways that we can manage this condition. These individuals should have their hearing tested once a year.
- Sudden Hearing Loss: If you notice a sudden change or decrease in your hearing, you should promptly have your hearing tested. Often these losses are sensorineural hearing losses that are misdiagnosed as nasal or sinus conditions. Time is of the essence if we want to save your hearing. A diagnostic hearing test will determine the appropriate course of treatment.