Regular hearing exams are part of maintaining healthy hearing, but how regular is “regular”? The answer depends on a few factors which determine how vulnerable your hearing may be to hearing loss and other issues.
While regular check-ups are important, it needs to be said that any noticeable changes in the way you hear warrant a hearing exam. Some hearing issues can develop quickly and need to be treated to avoid permanent harm, while others may indicate an issue that is best to treat early. If you have had changes in the way you hear, don’t wait for your next hearing check-up, schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist to discuss what is happening.
Children and Infants
Infants and young children should receive hearing exams at least once a year. Hearing is critical to early development, and if hearing loss is present, it needs to be recognized, treated and accommodated so the child doesn’t fall behind in learning. Make sure your child receives a hearing exam as part of their annual medical check-up or through their school. If a hearing issue is detected it should be addressed quickly.
Adults, Ages 18-40
For most adults under 40 without noticeable hearing issues or hearing loss risk factors, regular hearing exams should be scheduled every three years. On a three year schedule, hearing loss and other issues can be detected in their early stages. Regular exams also establish a hearing health history which will make it easier to detect changes in the way you hear. Even adults under 40 with low risk for hearing loss shouldn’t go more than five years without a hearing exam.
Adults, Ages 41-64
As we age, our hearing begins to show damage accumulated throughout our lifetime and the parts of our auditory system become more vulnerable to harm. After age 40, the regularity of your hearing tests should increase. See your hearing specialist at least every two years – don’t go more than three years without having your hearing tested.
Adults, Over Age 65
At age 65 your hearing becomes much more vulnerable to hearing loss. Nearly one in three people over age 65 has significant hearing loss, a likelihood that increases steeply as you age. Regardless of other risk factors, people over age 65 should be getting annual hearing exams. Annual hearing exams mean that hearing loss can be detected and treated early, when treatment is easiest.
People With Noisy Workplaces or Lifestyles
No matter what age you are, exposure to loud and excess noise can make hearing loss more probable. Noise-induced hearing loss is both the most common form of hearing loss and the most preventable. Regular hearing exams on an annual basis can make hearing loss
Workplace and job site noise is a common cause of hearing damage. Those who work in manufacturing and construction may face dangerously loud sounds sustained on a daily basis. Workers have the right to appropriate hearing protection on-the-job. Other professions such as transportation or restaurant work may be exposing you to harmful noise levels as well. Professional (as well as amateur) musicians may be especially vulnerable to hearing loss and should receive an annual hearing exam.
Hobbies and lifestyle factors can also mean that your hearing requires an annual exam. If you frequently attend loud events such as concerts or sports games, your hearing may be adversely affected. Very loud sounds such as gunshots and fireworks can cause immediate hearing damage, so we recommend that hunters also have their hearing checked. People with long and noisy commutes may also be exposing themselves to excess noise without realizing it. Take into account the noise in your everyday surroundings – if you live around a lot of noise, your regular hearing exams should be annually.
Many people take medication or have medical conditions that require more frequent monitoring of their hearing health. Drugs known to be “ototoxic” can cause harm to the auditory system as a side effect of their use. Medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease cause a higher risk of hearing loss. If a medication or medical condition puts you at higher risk for hearing damage, it is important to make annual hearing exams part of your calendar. Hearing loss can precipitate further health issues, so it is important to monitor your hearing as part of your holistic health.
Schedule a Hearing Test with Us!
If you are new to hearing tests or if it has been decades since your last hearing test, contact us today! We provide comprehensive hearing health services, including hearing tests. We look forward to helping you hear at your best.