Do you know how often you should be getting your hearing tested, particularly once you are over the age of 55? A February 2020 study of 2,000 UK adults found that those over the age of 55 believed they should have their hearing checked every three years, yet the average amount of time since they last had their hearing tested was nine years.
The reality—based on recommendations from audiologists—is that adults over the age of 55 should have their hearing tested every year. In fact, the British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) is calling for mandatory annual hearing tests for adults aged 55+.
While regular hearing tests are important at all ages, they become even more important as you age. Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of adults over the age of 75 have difficulty hearing. This means that as you approach the age where hearing loss commonly occurs, it is essential to have your hearing regularly tested so you can receive the treatment you need.
Some audiologists believe that even 55 is too late to start annual hearing testing. Almost 30% of British and Irish audiologists surveyed by BIHIMA in December 2020 said that they recommended adults begin annual hearing tests before the age of 55. Regular hearing tests are important because your hearing affects your daily life—including your personal relationships, social life, career, and simple joys of life like listening to music or the sounds of nature. In addition, untreated hearing loss has been linked to a greater risk of other serious conditions, including depression, social isolation and loneliness, anxiety, falls, and dementia.
To avoid these consequences, it is essential that you get your hearing tested regularly. If hearing loss is detected, follow your hearing professional’s recommendations for treatment, like using hearing aids. And if you are prescribed hearing aids, use them!
Based on the studies and work done by the British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association, annual hearing tests over the age of 55 might become mandatory in the near future in the United Kingdom. Although it doesn’t look like annual hearing tests will become mandatory in the United States in the immediate future, these annual hearing check-ups are still critical.
In the end, taking care of your hearing should be just as important and routine as other types of health care—like your regular dental visits and vision check-ups. You go to the dentist twice a year and the optometrist once a year (or once every two years before the age of 60). So, add in an annual hearing test! Your health, your relationships, and your quality of life will thank you.
To learn more about the necessity of regular hearing tests and to schedule your next hearing test, we welcome you to contact our office today. We are eager to assist you.
New Research: A checkerboard pattern of inner ear cells enables us to hear
The inner ear is a remarkable sensory organ responsible for our ability to hear and maintain balance. It is composed of a complex network of