Did you know that one in eight Americans over age 12 have lost some hearing in both ears? Unfortunately, people experiencing hearing loss often wait about seven years before seeking help. But why?
Unlike a painful twist of an ankle or a pounding headache, hearing loss often develops gradually. That makes it much harder to notice a problem in the earliest stages. Fortunately, hearing tests are simple and painless, so there’s no reason to wait to schedule an evaluation.
At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, our team of highly qualified audiologists provides comprehensive hearing services at four locations in California. If you or someone you love has concerns about hearing loss, here’s when to consider a hearing test.
How hearing loss works
If you associate hearing loss with aging, you’re not alone. And your chances of experiencing hearing loss do increase as you grow older. However, hearing problems can affect people of all ages, especially young people.
Hearing loss falls into three categories: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed (both conductive and sensorineural).
This form develops because something in the outer or middle ear keeps sound from reaching the inner ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include:
- Ear wax
- Fluid from allergies or colds
- Acute or chronic ear infections
- A foreign body
- A hole or tear in the eardrum
In most cases, our team can treat conductive hearing loss with a thorough cleaning, medication, or surgery.
When you have sensorineural hearing loss, there’s an issue with the inner ear or your nerve pathway going to the brain. These types of problems often occur from age-related damage, exposure to loud noises, illnesses, genetic conditions, and illnesses or certain medications.
This type of hearing loss typically benefits from hearing aids.
When to schedule a hearing test
Changes to your hearing can be alarming, but getting your hearing tested can provide solutions. It can be tough to spot the signs of hearing loss until it becomes significant, however, and many people miss the signals until someone else expresses concern.
Common signs of hearing loss can include:
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Hearing people talk but not being able to distinguish every word or sound
- Relying on lipreading or context
- Watching television at high volumes or relying on subtitles
- Thinking everyone around you is mumbling
- Leaving social situations exhausted because you’re straining to hear
- Missing everyday sounds, like phones, doorbells, or alarm clocks
- Hearing a ringing, buzzing, clicking, or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
- Struggling to follow multiple voices or tune out background noise
- Having others tell you the TV or radio volume is too loud — or that you need a hearing test
- Experiencing depression or increased isolation from others
If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to schedule a hearing test.
What to expect during a hearing test
A simple, painless hearing test starts with a review of your medical and family history. Your audiologist also asks you to describe your symptoms, hearing problems, and whether you’ve had exposure to loud sounds.
After gathering this information, your audiologist examines your ears with a tool called an otoscope. This device can detect problems like earwax, ear damage, infection, and other issues that affect your ability to hear.
The next three components of a basic hearing test are:
- Pure tone audiometry: determines the degree and type of hearing loss
- Bone conduction: identifies issues in the middle or outer ear
- Speech-reception threshold and word recognition: measures hearing and language ability
Based on these findings, your audiologist could suggest additional screenings before recommending the best course of treatment.
Treating hearing loss
Unfortunately, misconceptions about hearing aids often keep people from getting treatment for hearing-related issues. However, these devices have seen dramatic technological improvements in recent years, resulting in barely visible options that connect to Bluetooth.
If your hearing test indicates an issue that can benefit from hearing aids, we can offer customized suggestions to help you get the best results in any given environment. Sharp Hearing Care Professionals also offers a 60-day free trial period, free in-house service for the life of your device, and free house calls, so you can rest easy knowing your hearing is in the best hands moving forward.
Are you worried that you have hearing loss? That’s the main reason to schedule a hearing test. Contact Sharp Hearing Care Professionals to schedule a hearing evaluation in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Tarzana, California, today.