Keep Check on Your Hearing
A key part of maintaining long-term hearing health is being able to intervene and address any concerns as early as possible. In particular, age-related hearing loss occurs gradually, and many of us don’t realise until much further down the line when we may find ourselves in a situation in which our ears struggle.
With this in mind, it’s time we all started checking in with our hearing more regularly. After all, the more we monitor our hearing, the easier it is to notice any potential concerns and take action early.
Regular hearing screenings
Hearing screenings are important for everyone, no matter what age you are, and there are a variety of types out there. They will give you an overall picture of your hearing health and can indicate any areas where your ears may be struggling.
The two most common types of hearing test are:
Pure tone audiometry test - this test measures your ear efficiency by testing what volume levels you can hear each frequency at, helping you understand whether your hearing has any gaps in it, or what level of degradation you have. The results of a pure tone audiometry test are often presented in a graph which may be harder to understand or interpret without professional help.
To take a pure tone audiometry test at home, we suggest using the Mimi Hearing Test app, available on both the App and Google Play Store.
Speech perception test - this test measures your ability to understand speech in noise without visual clues, taking into account how your brain and ears work together to make sense of what you’re hearing. This test is easy to do without professional help - you’ll be given a score accompanied by further guidance on what your result means and whether you should get help.
To try a speech perception test yourself, we suggest using the World Health Organisation’s hearWHO, available on both the App and Google Play Store.
Although there are plenty of free hearing tests available online, these should never be used as a replacement for a professional hearing exam. If you do have concerns about your hearing, contact an audiologist. Most high street audiologists, opticians, and pharmacies now offer free hearing tests - find an audiologist in the UK now.
When should I get a hearing test?
As you get older you are more susceptible to changes in your hearing health and it’s recommended that you get regular annual hearing tests, even if you haven’t noticed any hearing loss yourself. Although, if you have already been diagnosed with hearing loss, taking care and necessary measures to look after your hearing will help preserve it. Speak to an audiologist today to find out how they can help.
On the other hand, for young people, noise is currently the greatest threat to your hearing. Whilst guidelines suggest that if you are aged between 18 and 40 and don’t experience any noticeable hearing loss, then you should get a hearing screening every 3 - 5 years.
If you’re regularly exposed to noises over 85dB then you should get a hearing screening every 1 - 2 years.
When should I see a specialist?
If you are experiencing any of the following then you should get checked by a specialist as soon as possible.
Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss already?
Is your hearing better in one ear than the other?
Have you experienced sudden hearing loss?
Noticeable loss within a few hours, days, or months?
Are you aged 60+?
Do you have tinnitus or ringing in your ears?
For people with tinnitus, why not try out Oto, a useful app designed to train your brain to respond differently to the sound it perceives - find out more here. Available on both the App and Google Play Store.