A hearing test is an important part of healthcare that many people take for granted. Learning about whether or not you might be losing your hearing can help you prepare in advance for future limitations, limit additional hearing loss and find the right hearing aids if necessary.
Common problems associated with unknown hearing loss
Many people who have speech impairments do not realize much of it might be due to some extent of hearing loss. With the proper aid, they could overcome speech issues and pronunciation. The same goes for children with learning disabilities. In some cases, the disability may have to do with hearing. Hearing tests and screenings are recommended regularly to help combat these issues.
For adults, it is best to receive a hearing screening every 3-5 years starting at age 18. Hearing loss typically occurs gradually, which is why it is so important to keep up with these screenings. While it can be difficult to notice small amounts of hearing loss, it can gradually build up over time. For children hearing screenings are typically performed annually in collaboration with public school.
Children also typically receive a few screenings before they are attending school. Newborns will receive a hearing screen before discharging from the hospital. We also recommend that toddlers have a screening around the age of two or three. While a primary care physician should help parents keep up with these screenings, visiting an audiologist will also help patients stay on track.
What a hearing screening is
A hearing screening will detect the patient’s ability to hear different types of sounds in varied environments. Since there are different levels and types of hearing loss, it can be difficult to pinpoint the scale of hearing damage without a thorough examination. Most of these screenings involve the use of a pure-tone machine which provides beeps or tones at different frequencies. If the patient passes the test, no further testing will be necessary.
If a patient fails, additional testing may be necessary to determine the extent of hearing loss. Other types of hearing tests may be helpful as well. Speech testing can help to see how patients listen to words and repeat them. It determines if there are discrepancies between the hearing and pronunciation. Middle ear tests may be necessary to see how sounds transmit from the outer ear to the inner ear and brain.
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Other tests may be performed to check how the inner ear and the brain pathways are working together. Another test checks how the hair cells of the inner ear vibrate in response to sound. If you feel as though your hearing has gone downhill or it has been awhile since you have had your hearing tested, it is important to do so soon.
If you have a child who has not had their hearing tested, it is not too late to plan a test for them too. Schedule a hearing test today to learn if you have any hearing loss, to what extent the loss is and to learn about options to prevent further hearing loss from occurring.