I think I have hearing loss. Now what?
If you have been putting off getting your hearing checked, you’re not alone. The average person waits seven years before seeking treatment for hearing loss.
But you shouldn’t wait. Untreated hearing loss leads to a number of potentially serious health problems, including dementia, depression, anxiety and deteriorating physical health. Even if you don’t suspect hearing loss, a baseline hearing evaluation is recommended for adults age 55 and above. Hearing loss usually develops gradually, making it difficult to notice in many cases.
The first step is to get your hearing tested by an audiologist. This is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare. The evaluation includes a series of individual diagnostic tests that measure different aspects of your hearing. Testing is completed in a soundproof booth and includes measuring which tones you are able to hear. Your audiologist will also test speech recognition at different levels and your ability to separate speech from background noise.
If the tests show you have a hearing loss, your audiologist will discuss treatment plan options. They will assess your lifestyle as well as your budget and technology preferences to determine the best devices for you. Once fitted with hearing aids, you will have a follow up appointment to make any needed adjustments.
Hearing continues to change over time, so if you have a diagnosed hearing loss and currently wear hearing aids, you should have your hearing tested annually.