How to Determine When an Adult Needs to Take a Hearing Test

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

hearing tests

When we think of hearing loss, we tend to think of two varieties: congenital hearing loss (hearing loss or deafness from birth), or presbycusis, the age-related hearing loss that comes with physical changes in the inner ear. The fact is, the degrees and kinds of hearing loss are far more complex and can affect anyone at any age. The Hearing Loss Association of America calls hearing loss “the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease,” meaning that even younger adults can benefit from a hearing test at an audiology specialty clinic at DeKalb Health.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may happen suddenly — it is, for instance, one of the most common combat-related injuries — but it’s equally likely to develop over time. Many of us engage in activities that can cause hearing loss or tinnitus and may not realize the damage we’re doing until its cumulative effect is too great to ignore. Some of the more common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Loud music, whether recorded or live
  • Occupational causes, like working around heavy machinery, power tools, or landscaping equipment
  • Infection
  • Illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, and dementia
  • Brain injury and other neurological disorders
  • Drug use, both prescribed and illicit
  • Ear wax buildup
  • Genetics

Time for a Hearing Test? Signs of Hearing Loss

Some of us may have been exposed to, or have experienced, many of the things above and may have escaped with our hearing unscathed. Others aren’t so sure. But there are some telltale signs that let you know it’s time to visit an audiologist.

  • Speech and sounds are muffled
  • Certain frequencies aren’t easily audible
  • You’re paying attention, but still find yourself asking people to repeat themselves or speak more clearly
  • You find you have to turn the TV or radio up louder than you used to
  • You avoid certain social situations because making out conversation is difficult with all the background noise
  • You find your hearing problems interfere with everyday activities or work — you’re missing important information in meetings, or not hearing what’s said on the phone

If you experience sudden hearing loss, especially if it’s in one ear, and/or cannot be traced to an environmental cause or occupational health issue, seek immediate medical attention.

What to Expect from a Hearing Test

The most dreaded words in the English language just might be, “We’re going to run some tests.” Relax. As medical testing goes, a hearing test is downright pleasant. It takes roughly half an hour, and it is completely pain-free. Your audiologist will have some questions about your hearing and how it impacts your life, and the tests themselves will involve listening to sounds at varying frequencies and volumes. Your initial screening may be followed by further tests to determine the kind and degree of problem you face.

Hearing Test Benefits

Hearing loss falls under the umbrella of invisible disabilities. Because someone doesn’t see a wheelchair, a cast, or some other outward manifestation of trouble, they may simply assume that you’re just not listening, that you’re antisocial, or that you might be a bit slow on the uptake. That, in turn, can lead to stress or depression for those with hearing loss. Having your hearing tested at DeKalb Health is an important first step toward re-engaging with the world around you.

Get Your Hearing Test

If you experience hearing loss, there’s a vast array of therapies, hearing protection, and hearing assistive technologies available to you. Rather than suffering in silence or feeling ashamed, take advantage. Contact us today for screening, hearing tests, and other therapies from our specialty clinics that will help you enjoy life to the fullest.

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician or health care professional, or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.