When is it Time to Get Your Hearing Tested?
Post by: Ellie Zuber
We’ve all had the preschool or kindergarten hearing screening, where the school nurse had you raise your hand at the beeps, but for a lot of us that’s the last hearing test we will ever have until well into our older-adult years. So should you be getting your hearing tested more regularly? Even if you haven’t noticed any changes?
Hearing loss typically occurs slowly and gradually over several years and it may be difficult to notice the change until it’s a very significant loss and keeping you from social activities. For this reason, we typically recommend that once a person turns 60 years old, they should get their hearing tested on an annually or more if they’ve noticed significant changes. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 25% of Americans 65-74 years old has a hearing loss, and 50% of Americans 75 and older. Without consistent, annual hearing tests, many people may be unaware of a hearing loss—which can begin to play a negative effect on their communication or even be a symptom of an underlying problem.
Hearing tests, or “audiograms”, are performed by audiologists and take less than an hour to complete. Often times, they are even covered by a patient’s health insurance plan, so there’s really no reason not to!
Based on calculations performed by NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program staff: (1) using data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); (2) applying the definition of disabling hearing loss used by the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Expert Hearing Loss Team (hearing loss of 35 decibels or more in the better ear, the level at which adults could generally benefit from hearing aids).