Many of us dutifully see our general practitioners for annual physicals because we know it’s important to be proactive about our health. We understand that with annual check-ups, medical problems can be caught early and treated before becoming a major health risk.
But when it comes to our hearing, far too many of us fail to get regular screenings. As a result, hearing loss often causes problems in our lives that wouldn’t have developed if diminished hearing had been diagnosed and treated early. This is why it is just as important to see a hearing care provider as it is to see a doctor, dentist, or optometrist.
Reasons to Get Your Hearing Tested Throughout Your Life
How hearing loss will affect other areas of your life largely depends on your age when you first begin to lose your hearing. An untreated hearing impairment can limit learning potential, cause social anxiety, and even lead to early dementia. Having your hearing tested at particular stages of your life can prevent these detrimental side effects. Hearing loss diagnosis and follow-up treatment can prevent the following issues:
- Communication delays and impairments. When babies and young children have even a mild hearing impairment that is not treated, they will struggle to learn language and to speak clearly. These communication delays can become permanent deficits if the hearing loss is not treated and the child is not given communication therapy. Fortunately, all babies born in hospitals must have their hearing tested at birth, so congenital hearing loss is usually diagnosed at birth and treatment can begin soon after. In toddlers, however, it is up to the parents to seek a hearing test if they notice speech delays or suspect a hearing problem.
- Learning deficits. Once a child with untreated hearing loss enters school, he will struggle to follow directions and to learn. These issues can be attributed to learning disabilities or behavioral problems, rather than to hearing loss. In many states, the health or education departments screen children in school periodically and hearing loss is often discovered this way. If your child is not tested in school, you should ask your pediatrician about getting a hearing screening, especially if your child is struggling in school.
- Strained relationships. More and more young adults are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss from listening to loud music, from using lawnmowers or leaf blowers, or from exposure to noise in the military. Young adults often don’t realize they have lost some hearing ability and, since they do not have a hearing test as a part of regular check-ups, their hearing loss goes undiagnosed. This may cause a strain in relationships, as others may assume the teenager is choosing not to listen, ignoring directions, or is simply inattentive. A baseline hearing test at age 15 or 16 and a screening every couple of years after that can catch noise-induced hearing loss early and, with treatment, prevent these problems.
- Lack of career advancement. As adults enter the workforce, they are expected to be able to follow directions, present information clearly, and understand what is happening in large meetings without asking a lot of questions. When an employee is suffering from hearing loss, she may miss out on promotions and advancements because she is not able to keep up with other employees. This is especially frustrating when she is not even aware she has hearing loss because she has never had her hearing tested. Hearing loss is not just a disorder of the elderly, and when it is not diagnosed and treated in adulthood, there can be serious consequences.
- Social isolation and depression. No matter what your age, if you are unable to interact with others and enjoy group activities because you cannot hear clearly, you may choose to isolate yourself rather than struggle to be a part of a group. This can lead to depression and further isolation. When this occurs because of undiagnosed hearing loss, it is especially tragic. After the age of 60, adults should have their hearing tested annually. These tests can prevent isolation and depression as people age.
Regular hearing tests throughout your life—followed by treatment to correct the loss—can prevent these detrimental effects.
Schedule Your Free Hearing Screening Now
At Hear Again Hearing Aids, we provide free hearing screenings to patients of all ages in our Corpus Christi office. Whether you are a young adult who is struggling to hear in groups or a senior who can no longer hear the TV, schedule an appointment today. We will get you on the path to better hearing and a happier life.