How often do you see a dentist? How about your eye doctor? And of course, we all know we should get a physical once a year. These appointments are very standard in our day-to-day lives and even if we don’t actually go as often as we should, I would be willing to bet that you’ve scheduled these appointments several times in your adult life. Now, when was the last time you had your hearing checked? For most of us, the answer would likely be “grade school.”
Did you know that when we are born, the doctors check our hearing? Our next test should be when we’re toddlers, but even if it isn’t done at that point, most elementary schools perform hearing tests on their students. Once we leave elementary school though, we never think about getting a hearing test again until we are well into retirement age. While we may not need hearing aids until then, checking your hearing should be something you are consistently tracking throughout your adult lives.
In an article from Hearing Doctors of Georgia, they recommend getting a hearing evaluation once every 3 to 5 years as hearing loss often occurs gradually. That isn’t to say that sudden hearing loss never happens. If you do find that your hearing drops suddenly, make sure you see an audiologist as soon as possible! Most audiologists will get you in on an emergency basis if this is the case.
Testing early is highly recommended by audiologists because it allows them to establish a baseline test for you. According to hopkinsmedicine.org, this gives the audiologists something to compare to if you do suddenly lose your hearing or notice a difference in your hearing. It will help the audiologist determine the severity of your loss and establish a better treatment plan.
The Hearing Solution Center states hearing loss is associated with several health risks. Heart disease, as confirmed by numerous studies, is one of the main risks. They have found links showing that “when the arteries, veins, and heart are healthy, hearing is positively affected.” The opposite is true as well, showing that heart issues can negatively affect the central auditory system.
The Hearing Solution Center has also found that those with moderate chronic kidney disease have an increased likelihood of suffering hearing loss as the toxins that accumulate in kidney failure damage the nerves in the inner ear. Patients with diabetes have also been linked to high risk of hearing loss, most likely due to the fact that glucose can damage small blood vessel tubes that transport blood to the ears.
There is a stigma about hearing tests and hearing aids in our society. We have somehow gotten it into our heads that hearing loss is only something you have to worry about when you get older. While this might be true for the majority, it is still extremely important to establish that baseline hearing test with your audiologist and consistently check every few years for changes. The sooner you can identify changes, the sooner you can establish ways to decrease the effects of your hearing loss.
Hearing aids are not strictly for our grandparents. They are meant to help those of us who can’t hear as well anymore. Age has absolutely nothing to do with that, so whether you are 25 or 95 don’t be afraid to confront your hearing loss. It is much more noticeable to constantly be asking others to repeat themselves than to have a small hearing aid in your ear. Don’t let pride prevent you from hearing the world around you! Call an audiologist to schedule a baseline hearing test and end the stigma around hearing loss.