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For some people the decision to get a hearing test is crystal clear. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the only one in the room unable to hear something, then there is no question that you need to get your hearing checked. These encounters can make it quite plain that your hearing is worse that other people, particularly when they can hear birds, whistles, or voices that are completely missing from your range of hearing.
However, this degree of hearing loss is likely quite far along the progression of lost ability, and it would have been beneficial to seek treatment much earlier in the process. Before you get to the point of finding sounds that are entirely missing, it is important to get a hearing test to understand your baseline ability.
Once you have a baseline assessment, we will be able to track your progress through time. After you get your baseline assessment, how can you tell when it is time to get an updated hearing test? There are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to hearing tests, as well as some common warning signs of hearing loss to keep in mind.
Hearing Testing Guidelines
If you have not already had one, every adult will do well to get a baseline hearing test as soon as possible. The record of this assessment will mark your starting point, and this test can be helpful for a hearing health professional to understand what types of hearing go missing down the road.
Once you have a baseline hearing test, the general rule is that adults should have a hearing test every 5 years. However, some circumstances will put you in the category of a recommended annual test. If you are over the age of 60, annual hearing tests are recommended.
Similarly, if you work in a noisy environment, you should consider annual tests. Many work sites will require these annual tests as part of federally mandated worker safety requirements, but some small businesses fly under the radar of these regulations. The types of workplaces that might pose a hearing risk can come as a surprise, including not only industrial sites, factories, and workplaces with heavy machinery. Those who work in restaurants, bars, sporting facilities, and music-related industries should consider annual tests, as well.
Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
With these general guidelines in mind, you should remain aware of early warning signs of hearing loss, prompting you to pursue a hearing test right away. One of the most common warnings of hearing loss is the volume on the television. If your family members, visitors, or housemates point out that the television is uncomfortably loud, this is a likely sign that your hearing ability is waning.
Other warning signs have a social dimension. If you find yourself feeling “out of it” in social settings, such as a dinner in a group or at a party, then you might be unconsciously struggling to hear what others are saying. You might even hesitate to attend events such as these, worried that you won’t be able to participate or have a good time.
If you or someone close to you notices that you are often asking others to speak up or to repeat themselves, then that is a telltale sign of hearing loss. Similarly, if your loved ones express frustration that you are tuning out, not paying attention, or missing important details, then the underlying cause might be the inability to hear their comments or questions. Finally, if you miss phone calls or the alarm to wake up in the morning, you might have an underlying hearing issue to consider.
Once you have scheduled a hearing test with us, you are on your way to getting the treatment you need, if necessary. In the best-case scenario, your hearing remains in a range that doesn’t require assistance, and you can simply return the following year for another assessment. In the case that you need treatment, we will be able to guide you through the process of navigating a sea of hearing aids and assistive technologies to find the right device to suit your individual needs and lifestyle.