Get your Baseline Hearing Exam Today

So you have an annual physical exam. You have your eyesight tested every year. You get your teeth cleaned and evaluated every 6 months. And you have your hearing examined every year… wait… you mean you don’t have a baseline hearing exam every year. It’s free! Why not!

Because hearing loss isn’t commonly screened by the family doctor, it’s normal to be unsure of when and why you hearing testshould be getting your hearing tested. You should schedule a baseline hearing exam followed by subsequent annual exams starting at any age, but especially if you fall into one (or more) of the following three categories:

1) You are 55 or older. Once you are 55, it is recommended that have your hearing tested annually, regardless of whether you think you have symptoms of a hearing loss. A decline in your hearing is a natural part of aging, and if you catch a hearing loss in its earliest stages, you and your hearing healthcare professional will be much better equipped to address and manage it into the future. Even if you discover a hearing loss, you may not need a hearing aid right away, but you’ll have the information you need to maintain your hearing health and take action as you go forward.

2) You have had consistent exposure to loud noise through work or recreation. Prolonged noise exposure is one of the main causes of hearing loss. Workplace environments that can cause a noise-induced hearing loss include construction sites, factories, military service, the music industry, or large, enclosed sports stadiums. If you have had significant prior exposure to noise or are still working with noise on a daily basis, it’s especially necessary to test your hearing annually.

3) You exhibit any signs or symptoms of a hearing loss. In this case, it’s important to have your hearing tested every year. Initial signs of a hearing loss include the following:

  • The feeling that people constantly mumble or don’t speak clearly
  • Often having to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves
  • Difficulty following conversations in busy settings (restaurants, malls, parties, etc.)
  • Difficulty following group conversations
  • Difficulty hearing people on the telephone
  • Others frequently commenting that your television or radio is too loud.

And, if you are already wearing hearing aids, it’s still important to have your hearing tested on a yearly basis. Hearing changes over time, and so it’s necessary to ensure that your hearing aids are still effectively addressing your hearing loss. Hearing Test NIH Questionnaire

The following questionnaire is published by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a Division of the National Institute of Health. The questionnaire is designed to help you determine if you should have your haring evaluated.

Any one of these symptoms can signal a hearing loss, even in young and middle-aged adults. It’s also important to note that it’s more often close friends or relatives who recognize the initial stages of a hearing loss than the people affected themselves. No matter your age, if you or someone close to you suspects that you have a hearing loss, it’s best to have your hearing tested.

1. Does a hearing problem cause you to feel embarrassed when you meet new people?

2. Does a hearing problem cause you to feel frustrated when talking to members of your family?

3. Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding co-workers, clients, or customers?

4. Do you feel slowed down by a hearing problem?

5. Does a hearing problem cause you difficulty when visiting friends, relatives, or neighbors?

6. Does a hearing problem cause you difficulty in the movies or in the theater?

7. Does a hearing problem cause you to have arguments with family members?

8. Does a hearing problem cause you difficulty when listening to TV or radio?

9. Do you feel that any difficulty with your hearing limits or hampers your personal or social life?

10. Does a hearing problem cause you difficulty when in a restaurant with relatives or friends?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may want to get a hearing evaluation.

To learn more visit the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a Division of the National Institute of Health