When was the last time you had a hearing test? If your answer is “I don’t even remember,” you aren’t alone.

Most adults, even older adults at higher risk, don’t get their hearing checked recently. Only about 20 percent of those aged 70 and older who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually do.

This includes people who have been fitted for hearing aids, but still don’t use them.

Why are Yearly Hearing Tests So Important?

Hearing tests are important for everyone, but particularly for adults aged 50 and older. And yes, this includes children.

Here are some very important reasons to get tested:

  • Children with hearing loss have poor outcomes in school and may face disciplinary issues.
  • Hearing loss negatively impacts household income by about $12,000 a year, and hearing aids mitigate it by as much as 50 percent.
  • Mild to moderate untreated hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline.
  • People with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to be depressed than both those with normal hearing and those who wear hearing aids.
  • Hearing loss can be an indicator of diabetes and heart disease.

Yet many people are much more willing to get their cholesterol tested than their hearing. Why is this?

Why do People Avoid Getting Their Hearing Checked?

There are three main reasons why people avoid getting a hearing test.

1. Stigma

Although hearing loss is a common health problem, it is associated with many negative images. While people who wear glasses are often seen as ‘cool’ and ‘intelligent,’ hearing loss is associated with being ‘ugly’ and ‘uncool,’ not to mention ‘old.’ This is much less of an issue than it used to be. Hearing aids have become smaller and more discrete, making it easier for people to hide hearing loss, and definitely remove the ‘ugly’ issue. However, people with hearing loss should still speak up to help normalize it.

2. Denial

Because hearing loss is so strongly associated with age, some older adults will refuse to address their hearing loss because to do so would mean admitting they were getting old.

3. Cost

Many insurance companies don’t cover hearing tests and hearing aids. This means some people are unable to seek treatment without financial assistance.

A hearing test, however, is simple and quick and should be done every year. If you need hearing aids, they are, as mentioned, now much smaller and more discrete. For profound hearing loss, cochlear implants might be an option. Hearing aids need to be checked and recalibrated at least once a year. Wearing your hearing aids actually slows further degradation as well as making your social and work life easier.

If you suspect you have hearing loss, you should contact Aim Hearing and Audiology. We are taking all expected COVID-19 precautions and also offer tele audiology appointments. We can do most assessments through your cell, tablet, or computer. With modern hearing aids, we can even reprogram your hearing aid remotely or talk you through how to make adjustments yourself.

Please don’t put off your hearing health, whether it’s a routine visit or because you or your family suspect something is wrong.

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Dr. Shannon Frymark Au.D., CCC-A

Shannon Frymark, Au.D., CCC-A, audiologist, received her doctor of audiology degree from the School of Audiology at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is licensed by the state of North Carolina, earned her certificate of clinical competency (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and is a member of the North Carolina Speech, Hearing & Language Association as well as the Hearing Loss Association of America.