A hearing check up should be part of your health routine. Waiting for some noticeable hearing loss can result in irreversible deafness.
In children, hearing check up appointments should be regularly carried out as the child develops. In adults, many will wait until some noticeable loss of hearing has occurred before visiting a local clinic or an ENT department at a local hospital.
However, many adults with hearing loss could just have an excessive build-up of fluid or wax in the canal. This is a condition that can easily be cleared up within minutes of visiting a clinic or doctor, where the patient’s mind can then easily be put to rest in the process.
A hearing test will determine what the right support a patient needs. A hearing check up in the very young should take place at regular intervals from when baby is just a few months old. Many states will run hearing screening programs specifically designed for a new born and an infant child.
The first few months and early years of any infant’s life are critical to development. If there are any problems in later life, it can be at this crucial time when things could go wrong.
That doesn’t mean that an infant who does not receive any form of regular hearing check ups will automatically have problems in later life. It is the regular appointments to test for hearing deficits that make sure we nurture the infant child – in much the same way as one would nurse a tiny plant or protect a sapling until it is strong enough to take root.
Children’s hearing tests are often part of an overall health assessment. An audiologist would look into the ear canal and check for a fully functioning hearing system. Usually sounds of a different pitch or tone will be played through an earpiece or headphone set and the changing volumes and levels of sound are measured against how well the child responded.
If you are concerned about a child’s hearing levels, they may require a hearing aid from a young age. Your audiologist would be able to recommend an appropriate hearing aid for your child. Even so, the vast majority of cases are simple conditions like an ear infection or ear wax.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to be exposed to loud noises and environments where there is a lot of potentially-damaging sounds. Parties, going out to see rock bands and similar can contribute to conditions that might affect the ear and trigger hearing loss.
Teenagers tend to have more wax build up in the ear canals than children or adults, so there is a good chance an issue is likely to be something temporary and treatable. But even so, a hearing check up is still the best option.
Hearing loss is something that would normally come to us all. It is part of a natural ageing process and although we can slow down the speed at which we lose the ability to hear, we cannot prevent it altogether.
Almost all Americans will have their teeth checked every six months and visit the opticians on an annual basis. So why do we not routinely get our hearing checked with the same level of diligence?
Eyes and teeth have a tendency to scream out that something is wrong. When we can no longer read our text messages on the phone, look at that distant road sign or see the television with the clarity we once did; and when you get a toothache, you quickly get to know all about it and alarm bells begin ringing!
However, ears and the performance of our hearing system fails to set off the sirens a sudden loss of sight or a pounding toothache usually would. Hearing loss is slow, gradual and often takes decades.
Older patients are most at risk from hearing loss as the condition is an ageing process. But all too many older patients will simply turn up the television set, cup a hand to their ears to hear another person speak or watch their lips.
What many elderly patients might not realise is that a hearing check up can help monitor ear health over time. And of course, it can check levels of hearing loss too. It can be surprising to learn just how much better you can hear when all that wax is gone!
A hearing check up also discovers further treatment advice for people with common conditions like tinnitus and rarer ailments like otosclerosis. So, if you are over 60 and have never had a hearing test before, then the time has come to book one in now. Also, if you:
- Have difficulty following conversations others are having and lose interest or concentration.
- Keep turning the television or radio up louder than other family members find it comfortable.
- You keep on mishearing or misunderstanding some words of a conversation – particularly in a room with plenty of background noise.
- It has been more than two years since the last hearing test.
It is time for a hearing check up if you meet these criteria.
I’ve had a Test and I Have Hearing Loss. What Happens Next?
Not all hearing loss issues are a part of the ageing process. You may be suffering from a medical condition, in which case you can go back to a doctor for more treatment and advice at the surgery. If not, the audiologist will advise a patient on the next steps to take. If your audiologist thinks it necessary, they will advise you to choose from a range of hearing aids.