Has someone said this to you? Or have you said it to someone else? Often a family member or friend is the one who encourages someone to get his or her hearing checked.
That's because people with hearing loss might not even know that they have it. It takes an average of seven years for someone with hearing loss to go from thinking that they might have symptoms to actually getting treated. That's a long time to put off taking care of your health.
Getting your hearing checked is nothing to fear or put off. It's a quick, easy and painless way to keep your overall health in check. And it only takes an hour to an hour and a half. In just a short time, you could be in charge of your health.
So what should I expect during a hearing test?
Like just about any medical appointment, a hearing evaluation starts by answering questions about your health history, medications, symptoms and lifestyle. There are many causes of hearing loss, so providing that information to a qualified hearing professional helps them determine if medical conditions like allergies, sides effects from drugs, genetics or loud-noise exposure might come into play.
Your hearing healthcare provider will look inside your ears to see if anything is blocking the canal and to make sure your eardrum looks normal. Sometimes wax build-up or an infection can be the culprit of hearing loss and treatment will be referred.
Next, you'll sit in a sound-treated room. This super-quiet space blocks out any conflicting noise that might interfere with the accuracy of your evaluation.
You'll wear earphones and special headphones where one side goes behind your ear. Your hearing healthcare professional will send a series of tones at different volumes and frequencies (or pitches) to one ear at a time and will let you know how you should respond-usually with a hand gesture or with a press of a button. It's noninvasive and painless and your hearing healthcare provider will walk you through every step of the way.
This test will measure the quietest sounds that you can hear at each frequency, so some sounds will be so soft that you can barely hear them. Your hearing healthcare professional will be trying to determine if you have a hearing loss or not and if you do, how mild or severe it might be. They'll record results on a graph called an audiogram.
During the next part, you’ll be asked to repeat a series of short words that will be played at lower and lower volumes, with and without background noises. You'll repeat the words that you hear a few times. This will measure the quietest speech sounds that you can hear and comprehend. Results will also be recorded on an audiogram.
And that's it!
Your hearing healthcare professional will show you the audiogram of their findings and discuss your results with you. They'll tell you if you have normal hearing or mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. If there is hearing loss, your percentage of loss may vary from frequency to frequency and one ear might function differently than the other.
If you do have hearing loss, there's an easy treatment. 95% of hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. And there are plenty of hearing aid options for every type of hearing loss and lifestyle.
There's no reason not to get checked. Even if you don't think you have hearing loss, getting an evaluation now is a great baseline for the future. Or you may have hearing loss and might not even know it, so take the first step to improved communication with others and better overall health.
To take control of your health or the well being of someone you know, please set up a hearing test today.
Not ready to get checked yet? Got ten minutes? Take this quick online quiz.