Annual physicals, biannual dental checkups, and regular annual vision screenings are a well-established schedule for staying on top of your health – but do you know how often you should be getting a hearing exam? One of the questions we field most frequently is just how regularly should a person have their hearing tested.
The answer is: it depends! When you should get your hearing tested relies on a number of factors. First, let’s be clear that a noticeable change in the way you hear is always a reason to get your hearing examined. Early detection and treatment for hearing loss and hearing issues is the best way to care for your hearing.
Even if you haven’t noticed a significant change in the way you hear, you should get your hearing checked every three to five years. This schedule ensures that even issues you may not have noticed can be detected before they become larger problems. Regular exams also help establish a health history for your hearing.
You’ll need to get your hearing checked more often if any of the following apply to you:
Younger Than 18
Health screenings for infants, toddlers and regular school physicals should include a hearing test. Early hearing exams help detect and treat congenital hearing loss in children. Treating hearing loss early helps lessen the impact of hearing loss on childhood development and equips children with accessibility tools for better learning. Regular hearing exams in young people also helps monitor for ear infections which are more common in children and young adults.
Older Than 60
As we age, our hearing becomes more vulnerable to damage, and hearing loss becomes increasingly more common. By age 65 roughly one third of the people have significant hearing loss. At age 75 that statistic rises to one out of every two people and by age 90, nearly 90% of people live with hearing loss.
This rapid elevated risk of hearing loss means it is important to increase the frequency at which you have a regular hearing exam. We recommend an annual exam for anyone over age 60. Annual exams establish a medical history for your hearing so changes can be more easily recognized and addressed.
A Loud Workplace
Most hearing loss occurs from exposure to dangerously loud noise levels. The delicate sensory cells of the inner ear are simply not designed to handle very loud noises and exposure to them can result in permanent hearing loss. That said, those who work around loud noises need to take precautions on the job to protect themselves from hearing damage.
Careers like construction, manufacturing, airport and transportation work, busy restaurants and kitchens and automotive repair frequently place workers around sound levels that can affect their hearing. If you work around noise, you will want to start getting an annual hearing exam.
Other Exposure to Excessive Noise
The workplace is perhaps the most frequent setting for people to be exposed to excess noise, but in a world growing ever-louder, you’ll want to take a look at your lifestyle and see how it can affect your hearing. Frequent travellers and those with long and loud commutes to work should consider annual hearing exams.
Concert goers can be exposed to noise levels that damage their hearing in minutes. Being close to fireworks or gunshots can cause instantaneous hearing damage. If you have a lifestyle or pastime that involves loud noise, opt for annual hearing exams.
Musicians seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place – while hearing is critical to their livelihood, musicians are also often exposed to sound levels responsible for permanent hearing damage. That is why it is important for musicians to use proper hearing protection and to get regular annual screenings for hearing loss.
Diagnosed Hearing Loss
Finally, if you have already been diagnosed with hearing loss, you will need regular care for your hearing health. Annual exams for those with hearing loss help monitor the state of your hearing and make sure your hearing aids and assistive devices are properly working and programmed.
Annual hearing exams make managing your hearing loss easier by detecting changes in your hearing earlier and adjusting your hearing treatment to make sure it meets your needs.
Is it time for your next hearing exam? Our team is here for you – contact us today to schedule an appointment!