We know you are busy but mark this appointment in your calendar
As Australians grow both more concerned and better educated about their health and well-being, many already see the importance of regular health checks. You might have an annual GP visit on your list, six-monthly dental checks and cleanings, and maybe others on top of that too! We keep ourselves healthy through eating right and staying active because, as the old saying goes, prevention is better than a cure! There’s one area though that you might be overlooking when it comes to living your best life – your hearing.
Hearing health touches much more than just your ears. Untreated hearing loss creates a large ripple effect on your communication ability, wellbeing, general health and mental health. Hearing professionals recommend getting annual hearing checks starting from early adulthood. Aim for around 18-21. However, if you’re reading this thinking ‘I’m well past this’ – don’t be discouraged. You can still begin your hearing health journey. We recommend taking the plunge on this first visit, even if you think everything is fine. Why is this? Establishing a baseline lays the groundwork for future visits. It allows your hearing professional to see if there have been any changes to your hearing that need to be addressed.
Why start so young?
It’s a misconception that hearing loss only affects the elderly. One in six Australians is impacted by hearing loss of some level and they are from all ages and walks of life. In fact, hearing specialists often discover hearing loss in younger people due to their propensity to enjoy loud music through headphones, clubbing and live music venues.
Also, there are plenty of Australians of working age that might be putting their hearing at risk through noise exposure in the workplace. Jobs like construction, mining and even musicians should be mindful of the best practice hearing protection procedures for their roles, and also strongly consider having that first hearing check to assess for signs of damage.
What happens during a baseline test?
During a baseline hearing test, your audiologist will ask general questions to get to know a bit more about you and your health. They’ll complete a non-invasive visual exam of your ears. Then, you’ll be asked to detect a series of beeps and words through a set of headphones. This will measure your sensitivity to sounds and ability to understand speech.
How often do I need to have follow-up visits?
That depends on a few factors which your audiologist will discuss with you on your first visit. Your risk for hearing damage, your age, and the results from your baseline test will determine a recommendation.
If you have some hearing loss, you’ll begin treatment which will probably require a few follow-up visits in the immediate months following. From then on, you should be popping back into the clinic annually for a check-up.
As we get older, even if no hearing loss is detected, you may be encouraged to visit annually. This is because our hearing naturally declines as we age. This is known as presbycusis, and affects more than 50% of Australians aged 61-70 and as much as 75% of Australians aged 71+. Early treatment of presbycusis is a great intervention for further health problems including dementia, and cognitive decline.
If you have no signs of hearing loss, are younger, and don’t engage in activities which put you at risk, your recommended follow-up visit schedule might be more like every three to five years.
Ready for your hearing check?
Let’s get that appointment in your calendar! Call 1300 015 227 or book a free hearing check here.