How Often Should I Get a Hearing Test?

how often should I get a hearing test?
Dr. Steinberg
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Getting assistance with your hearing relies on having a thorough diagnosis of your needs. Too many of us put off getting tested for hearing loss. Whether you are someone who is in denial of these needs, is resistant to getting help, or simply doesn’t know where to turn for help, the lack of diagnosis can make things much worse. Those with untreated hearing loss have higher rates of many physical, mental, and cognitive issues, so it is crucial to know how your hearing ability measures up to prevailing standards. 


Perhaps you have had a hearing test before, showing that you did not have hearing loss. As time goes by, you might be concerned that you have developed hearing loss that you don’t even notice. These subtle shifts in hearing ability can happen over time, making it difficult to notice. The following are some general considerations when it comes to hearing loss and testing. Getting the full diagnosis is crucial to your health and wellbeing going forward.


Regular Testing for Most Adults


The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has provided some helpful guidelines for testing. Many children are first tested in school. You might recall getting your first hearing test as a young child in elementary school. However, beyond this phase of mandated testing, the responsibility falls on the individual to schedule hearing tests. How often should you get a test? The ASHA recommends that adults aged 18-40 should get a hearing test every three to five years, but there are exceptions to this general guideline. If you have not noticed any change in your hearing ability, it is still important to get tested with this regularity, establishing a baseline for ability and change in your hearing before any loss occurs. 


Testing More Often for Some Adults


Although the general rule of three to five years applies to most adults, some people would do well with more frequent hearing tests. Those who are age 60 and above would do well to have an annual hearing test. Age-related hearing loss is quite common among people in this age range, and one in three people over age 65 have some form of age-related loss. You might not realize that your hearing ability has suffered, so getting tested is the only way to get a thorough diagnosis. As you will see, those between the ages of 40 and 60 do not have clear guidelines. In this age range, a test every five years is the minimum, but many would do well to get annual tests, particularly if they fit into the following other groups.


Those who are exposed to noise should also get annual tests. If you work in a noisy place, you should be wearing hearing protection at work. Although this protection goes a long way toward helping prevent hearing loss, you still need to get an annual test to make sure that the protection is effective. Those who engage in noisy recreational activities should get annual tests, as well. If you are a musician or participate in recreational activities with loud vehicles or firearms, annual tests will show if these activities are affecting your hearing ability. Noise-induced hearing loss is common among those who work and play in noisy environments, so be sure to track the effects on your hearing ability. 


The final group who are recommended to get annual tests are those who have already been diagnosed with hearing loss. If you had a diagnosis of mild hearing loss, you might not have even been prescribed hearing aids. That diagnosis, however, is reason enough to continue with annual tests from that time forward. Hearing loss progresses at different rates for different people, and you might end up having a rapid decline in your hearing ability. In order to catch these changes in hearing that might require more advanced treatment, an annual test is wise. With these guidelines in mind, you will be able to work with a hearing health professional to know just how serious your hearing loss has become and whether steps need to be taken to assist you. If it has been a long time since your last hearing test, don’t put off getting your test any longer!