Why It’s So Important To Get Your Hearing Tested As A Senior

by Bethany
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Getting your hearing tested as a senior is one of the most important things you can do. As the body ages, we lose the ability to hear as clearly due to natural processes. This article details everything you need to know about hearing tests for seniors. In addition to proactive prevention of sound problems, these exams can also help you determine the best listening device and improve your overall quality of life. You may be a victim of hearing loss if you are unable to hear speech in quiet settings, if music seems to be quieter than normal, or if sounds in general seem quieter than you are accustomed to.

Hearing loss can be determined with the use of a hearing test, which looks at the extent of a person’s loss and whether or not both ears are affected. These tests are performed by specialists called audiologists and can measure different things, like the presence of blockages inside the ear canal that prevent sound transmission, for example. Most people get tested for ear problems only after experiencing a decrease in sound volume; however, it’s a good idea to get examined on a regular basis to prevent issues from degrading the use of your ears over time.

What Are Hearing Tests?

A hearing test measures the sensitivity of a person’s sense of hearing to see the types of sounds they are able to hear and whether or not they have any loss. A person who conducts an examination is known as an audiologist. Audiologists know the structure of the ear well and are able to determine the type of test necessary for each patient using a tool called an audiometer, which emits very soft sounds at various frequencies. These exams are utilize to interpret things about an individual’s sense of sound through a variety of measures.

There are many types of hearing tests. Pure tone audiometry tests are the most common, where a patient is asked to listen to different frequencies using an audiometer. The patient is then assessed based on the softest sounds that can be heard. Speech recognition tests determine how well patients understand speech in a given language. Patients are asked to repeat certain words to determine if there is an issue impacting the ability to recognize speech. Other exams include acoustic reflex, which allows an audiologist to determine the location of an injury inside the ear by measuring how muscles move in response to sound, and auditory brain response, which uses electronic signals to record brain activity in the presence of sound.

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When to Get Tested

Hearing tests are examinations that measure how well the human ear is working. Although these exams can be done at any age and for a variety of reasons, people with genetic conditions, illness, and the elderly are more vulnerable to experiencing deafness. Hearing loss can also be caused by damage can also occur when the sensitive membrane inside the ear ruptures or loses elasticity due to trauma. Our ears provide us with necessary information that allows us to navigate our environments. You should get checked for hearing loss when you notice difficulties listening to people for an extended period of time, if you have an illness or infection that has affected your ability to interpret sound, or if you are over 60 years old.

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What to Expect at a Hearing Test

Hearing tests are usually conducted at an audiologist’s office. The audiologist will start with a physical examination of the ear using an otoscope to determine if there are issues conducting the examination. Many conditions can complicate results, including: the presence of wax or other blockage inside the ear canal, the presence of fluid inside the canal, a fractured or ruptured eardrum, or an inner ear infection. The audiologist may also clean the inside of the ear cavity by removing wax. Depending on the test, the patient may be asked to wear noise-canceling headphones and/or sit inside a soundproof booth while the test is being performed.

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Prevent Future Hearing Problems

There are many ways to prevent hearing problems. Keep the ears clean on a regular basis. Remove wax and obstructions from the canal that can damage tissue with objects that are safe to use. Do not insert any object that was not intended for this purpose. Avoid exposure to loud noises. The threshold of noise necessary to damage the ability to hear is lower than people think. Limiting your exposure to loud music like concerts can prevent sound problems in the future. Avoid prolonged exposure to sound. Prolonged sound exposure can gradually damage the hearing over time, so if you are exposed to loud sounds for any extended period, use noise canceling devices like earplugs or headphones. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can boost the immune system and reduce the occurrence of infections, like those that affect the ears. Exercise often, get plenty of rest, eat well, and avoid smoking.

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See If You Are a Candidate for Hearing Aids

If you have experienced damage to one or both ears, or if you are older than 60 years old, you may be eligible for the use of a hearing aid, which is a special device that amplifies sounds through the use of electronic signals. While aids don’t cure hearing loss by restore sound volume to normal or address the mechanisms that cause deafness, they can help patients hear sounds more clearly. Many modern aids are worn inside the ear canal and are nearly undetectable to others. An audiologist can help you determine the best aid for you at the best possible cost.

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Improve the Quality of Life

Sound is a large part of our lives. Hearing aids can improve the quality of your life in both quiet and noisy settings. It’s important for seniors in particular to enjoy activities with others, be able to have stimulating conversation, listen music, and engage in other activities that comprise everyday life. Most people who would benefit from the use of an aid that amplifies sound are not aware that these devices are available to them. With advancements in healthcare, there are a variety of modern solutions designed to handle audio problems easily considering cost and other factors. The sound transmitted through the use of an aid is not loud enough to cause any additional damage.

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Identify Other Health Issues

Many types of health problems can cause ear issues. Autoimmune disease, like lupus, is one of the biggest sources of hearing loss. Other conditions, including the presence of diabetes, can cause sound issues. Certain medicines also create side effects that impact sound problems, so it’s important to check the label and consult with a doctor before taking any medications. Patients with medical issues that cause deafness in one or both ears are often unaware of the issue until their ability to listen has been impacted. Experiencing routine testing can reduce the incidence of medical issues, assist the prevention of others, or bring them under control.