It’s been ages since Cassandra’s last hearing test–at least four years when she stops to think about it. And that was OK. When she was younger, Cassandra could get away with infrequent visits to her hearing specialist. But now that she’s in her fifties, Cassandra might want to start thinking about getting her hearing tested annually. The same goes for you, by the way.
For good reason.
Here’s What Happens at an Annual Hearing Test
Annual hearing tests are usually very low key. You come in. You listen to a few sounds, raise your hand every once in a while, and maybe have a sensor or two placed near your ears. After all that, you’ll be given the results of your test: it’s called an audiogram. And that will help determine whether you’re experiencing any hearing loss.
For most people, including Cassandra, this is a relatively easy process. In addition to being effortless, hearing tests are also absolutely essential. Because the diagnostics and tests that hearing specialists have at their disposal are especially sensitive, they are able to detect the signs of hearing loss well before you will notice them in your daily life.
Why Check Your Hearing Annually?
Ideally, you’ll get your hearing tested once every year. It’s really not that big of a deal–and you can usually make your appointment with your hearing specialist as you’re departing. That way, you’ll get a nice reminder in 365 days (or so) for your next appointment. Easy peasy!
There are some very good reasons to have your hearing tested annually.
Hearing Loss Is Slow and Stealthy
In many cases, hearing loss is the result of damage to your ears. And for most people, that damage accumulates slowly. Complicating the matter is your brain: your brain is really good at compensating for any hearing loss you may experience–up to a point.
So by the time you realize that you’ve been listening to the television at neighbor-alienating volumes, you’ve already experienced a significant amount of damage. An annual test will:
- Help you detect hearing loss early, before years of damage can continue to accumulate.
- Accurately track how quickly your hearing is deteriorating.
- Help you determine whether you need treatment or therapy, such as a hearing aid, to help minimize possible future damage.
- Hearing Loss Can Impact Your Mental Health
And it’s not just your listening skills that are impacted by hearing loss. There’s a significant amount of evidence that suggests your mental health may be compromised in important ways–even when your hearing loss is operating at otherwise undetectable levels. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you may also suffer from:
- Fatigue: When your hearing starts to diminish, your brain can often compensate. But that kind of processing takes a lot of brainpower, and over time you can start to feel fatigued. You could become forgetful or find it challenging to maintain focus. You might even feel exhausted all day, no matter how well you slept.
- Isolation: One of the most profound and upsetting impacts of hearing loss is social isolation. As your hearing begins to fade, communication becomes more challenging. So you try less often (especially if you’re fatigued already). This social isolation can happen even when you’re not aware as to why. A hearing test could provide you with some answers.
- Depression and Dementia: In part, due to that social isolation, those with hearing loss are often at increased risk for other mental health issues, such as depression and dementia. Treating your hearing loss–and treating it as early as possible–can help lower the risks of both depression and dementia.
Answers and Solutions
Hearing tests are a proactive kind of care. That’s why, when you undergo your hearing test annually, you can successfully prevent damage, mental strain, and more. Ultimately, this means that your hearing will be healthier and your daily life more fulfilling.
For Cassandra, it’s time to visit her hearing specialist and undergo her annual screening. She’s going. She’s, in fact, already out the door. And if she’s persuaded, maybe you should be convinced, too.