Most people make regular checkups a part of their medical care. Annual physicals, dental exams and vision tests are all commonplace. Fewer individuals pay as much attention to their hearing, however.
How often you get your hearing tested depends on your age. Newborn hearing screenings are essential, of course, and regular checkups throughout childhood are commonplace. Few adults give their hearing much thought unless they are experiencing a noticeable loss in hearing ability. By then, their options for treatment may be more limited. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) guidelines state that healthy adults aged 18—40 who are not experiencing any noticeable hearing loss should have their hearing tested every three to five years. More frequent hearing tests are recommended for the following individuals:
- People over the age of 60.
Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is common; as we age, cumulative damage to the hair cells in the inner ear becomes more prevalent, affecting the ability to understand high frequencies. One out of three individuals experiences presbycusis by the age of 65; that number increases to one out of two by the age of 75. Annual hearing tests are recommended for all adults beginning at the age of 60, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms.
- People who are frequently exposed to loud noises.
Noise-induced hearing loss is almost as common as presbycusis and affects individuals of all ages. People who work in noisy environments (e.g., construction and manufacturing), regularly participate in noisy activities (concerts, hunting, riding motorcycles) or are employed in professions where sudden loud noises are common—such as law enforcement and the military—should have their hearing checked annually.
- People with hearing loss.
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss and wear hearing aids, it’s important to have your hearing tested regularly. Hearing continues to change over time, so regular tests help ensure that your treatment is as up-to-date as possible. Patients with hearing loss should have their hearing tested annually.
Are you due for a hearing test? Call (415) 362-2901 to schedule your appointment.