The Frightening Risk You Take Putting Off a Hearing Test

Frightened man who has put off a hearing loss.

Who doesn’t procrastinate? The art of putting things off until the last minute is almost as human as, well, the anxiety that comes along with procrastination. But there’s one area of your life in which you should not procrastinate: scheduling your next hearing exam. (Okay, we acknowledge that there are probably multiple areas of your life in which procrastination is counterproductive–but we’re going to focus on hearing for now.)

There’s absolutely no upside to putting off a hearing test. And it’s a shame that so many people do just that–because getting a hearing test is easy, beneficial, and routine (once you get in the habit).

The Benefits of a Simple Hearing Test

For most people, procrastination is rooted in fear. Whether rational or not, many of us experience fear and anxiety at the prospect of any type of medical test. To a certain extent, that kind of anxiety can be forgiven. But in terms of a hearing test, that concern is often misplaced.

Hearing tests, also called audiometry, are non-invasive and relatively simple. You simply listen to the test and respond accordingly.

In the end, you’ll be given a readout (called an audiogram) that represents your hearing test results. And that’s when you start to experience the benefits of a hearing test:

  • You’ll find out if you have any hearing problems (this seems obvious, but it is indeed an important benefit)
  • You’ll also find out what wavelengths are most impacted (in other words, whether you have a harder time hearing high sounds or low sounds)
  • You’ll be able to track hearing decline (if any) over time
  • You may be able to detect hearing issues before they become noticeable or significant
  • You will be able to determine whether your hearing loss is mild, moderate, severe, or profound
  • If you have hearing loss, you’ll be able to better treat it

The Benefit of Knowing Your Hearing Loss Better

Hearing loss is rarely distributed evenly across all wavelengths of sound. Knowing where you need help–which types of sounds are harder to hear–means your treatment will be more individualized and, therefore, effective. Your hearing aid can be adjusted to address those particular wavelengths while leaving others unamplified.

The calibration means you’ll be able to hear better–and more naturally–once you have your hearing aids properly set.

Have Trouble Remembering? Rely on Routine

If you’re over the age of 50, you should undergo a hearing test annually–once every year. If you’re between the ages of 18-50, then you can stretch out the time between hearing tests a bit more (assuming that you have no symptoms or red flags in the interim).

It’s easy to forget scheduling your hearing appointment when it only happens once a year–or every few years. The trick, then, is to work these appointments into your daily life. Here are a couple of things you can try:

  • Make all of your annual appointments within the first month or two of the year.
  • Schedule your next appointment as you’re leaving your current appointment; that way, you never leave without your next appointment scheduled
  • Use other important dates to remind yourself of the appointment you need to schedule (the day after a birthday, for example)
  • Keep a calendar
  • Have a hearing appointment buddy; you can keep each other honest
  • Set up reminders in your smartphone or on your online calendar

The important thing is to establish a routine surrounding the scheduling of your hearing specialist appointment. And as long as you don’t forget about that appointment (again, put it on your calendar), you’ll be okay.

Hearing Loss Treatments Can Make Your Ears Safer

There are risks associated with putting off your hearing test. These risks increase not so much because you miss a test–rather, it’s because you’re not getting the treatment you need.

You can procrastinate all you want–but if you make sure to schedule your hearing test and get in for your routine checkup, you’ll be able to avoid and diminish many of those risks.


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