Approximately 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, but individuals with hearing loss typically wait around 7 years before seeking help. Fortunately, nowadays there are many resources available to get your hearing checked. So save yourself 7 more years of hearing damage and utilize one of the many options of hearing tests that are available to you now.
We understand that finding a hearing test can be overwhelming, as there is an abundance of options. It can be difficult to figure out where to start. In this article, we make it easier on you by giving you everything you need to know to get your hearing tested.
SIGNS THAT YOU NEED A HEARING TEST
The following are common signs you may need a hearing test:
- You find yourself asking those around you to repeat themselves often
- You turn the volume up on the television or radio more frequently
- You keep getting told that you are speaking too loudly
- You have buzzing or ringing sounds in your ear
- You have trouble hearing consonants
- You withdraw from conversations due to a difficulty communicating with others.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, we recommend getting your hearing checked.
ONLINE HEARING TESTS
If you want to test your ability to properly hear, a good place to start is by utilizing online hearing tests. Most online tests are free and user friendly. These tests will typically ask you questions about your symptoms and analyze your hearing through a series of speech, tone, and noise assessments to give you an overview of your current hearing state.
Consider taking an online hearing test if:
- You have spent extensive time in loud environments (i.e., concerts, stadiums, factories)
- Hearing loss is common in your family history
- Based on interactions, friends or family have told you that you may be losing your hearing
- You are over 60 years old
- You feel as though you have gradually been losing your hearing
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ONLINE TEST TO CHOOSE?
There are a multitude of online hearing tests to choose from, which is helpful in terms of options, but at the same it is hard to figure out which ones will be the most beneficial. It is important to make sure the test you choose is of good quality. Some ways to ensure this are by:
- Checking if the test was designed by professionals such as audiologists, neuroscientists, or engineers. Professionals that study human sound or hearing are more likely to produce high-quality tests with genuine results.
- Making sure the test instructions are clear-- meaning that they are specific in terms of how to take the test and receive the most accurate results.
- Reading online reviews of the test before taking it.
Some online hearing tests we recommend are:
Online hearing tests are a great tool to use as an update on your ability to hear. However, they cannot offer you a medical diagnosis or identify the underlying cause of your hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss that hinders your everyday life, it is best to contact a medical professional.
SEE YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR FOR A HEARING ASSESSMENT
To get to the root of your hearing loss and find a fix, it is a good idea to consult with your general practitioner/family physician. Your general practitioner can evaluate your symptoms and hearing to give you a better understanding of the medical causes of your hearing loss. They can also check for and remove wax build up, which is sometimes the root of the issue.
While this is a helpful start, the issue at hand can exceed a general practitioner’s expertise if your hearing loss is on a more severe level. In this case, you might benefit from seeing an Audiologist-- a licensed hearing health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss.
FINDING AN AUDIOLOGIST
If you start by seeing your general practitioner, they can refer you to an audiologist that they recommend. In fact, some insurances may require you to get a referral from your practitioner before they cover the costs of an audiologist. Otherwise, if you have a family member or friend who has visited an audiologist, you can ask them for advice on who they recommend.
In the case that you do not know someone who has recently been to a hearing health care professional, a satisfactory way to find audiologists is to do some online research. Start by simply typing something along the lines of “audiologist near me” into your search engine. Usually, each clinic will have a clinician biography that you can read to get some more insight about the hearing professional that you would be seeing. It is helpful to take in account each clinic’s patient reviews or customer testimonials to provide additional assistance in finding the best audiologist for you.
WHAT WILL AN AUDIOLOGIST DO FOR ME?
Once you find an audiologist, they will be able to do in-depth comprehensive hearing tests. There are seven different types of hearing tests, each being painless and noninvasive ways to measure your ability to hear different sounds, pitches, or frequencies. Your audiologist can then go over those results with you and recommend a course of action based on your diagnosis.
Hearing loss can feel very frustrating and even isolating at times but there are solutions to help you hear better again and lead a happier life. The first step is to take a hearing test, whether it be online, from your family doctor, or from an audiologist. You will not be able to discover the underlying cause or diagnosis of your hearing loss until you get your hearing checked properly. Thus, it is imperative to take action into your own hands and find a hearing test option that works best for you.
We hope you found this article helpful and if you find that you are in need of hearing aids after taking your hearing test, be sure to check out our high quality and affordable hearing products at Audien Hearing!
Senior Editor, Audien Hearing