The importance of frequent hearing check-ups

on Sep 18, 2019

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If this appointment isn’t in your diary, it should be.

Just as a car needs regular services to avoid expensive and unexpected trips to the mechanic, a proactive approach with our health is the key to avoiding nasty surprises! You might already schedule annual trips to your GP, dentist and optometrist, but have you considered how seeing a hearing specialist can fit into the picture? As with any health problem, the earlier our clinicians can identify and treat a hearing loss, the better the outcome for our patients. By getting to know a little about you and your lifestyle, we can also identify risk factors to your hearing health and help you avoid damage – or further damage – to your precious hearing! And it all begins with a simple hearing check…

Most of us have at some point ignored tooth pain, sometimes for weeks, and then suddenly found ourselves with a horrible toothache in desperate need of treatment! And then we’ve all told ourselves, “I wish I had done something about that sooner!” Luckily, a tooth can be fixed, or even replaced in the worst case of scenarios. But, what happens if we neglect to look after our hearing, or ignore a hearing loss? Well, it’s a little bit different to our teeth – the delicate hearing systems that lie inside the ear simply cannot be “fixed” or replaced. But the good news is that we can use state-of-the-art technologies like hearing aids to allow you to hear better, and prevent further damage to your hearing.

Did you know that by looking after your hearing, you’re looking after your brain too? That’s right, there’s a close link between the two.

Experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine have found that older adults with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop cognitive and memory problems than older adults who have normal hearing. In the 2013 study, participants took repeated cognition tests over six years, revealing the cognitive abilities of those with hearing loss declined around 30 to 40 percent faster. All participants had normal brain function when the study began. The levels of declining brain function at the study’s conclusion were directly related to the severity of hearing loss. 

The researchers believe there is a couple of different explanations for the cognitive decline. They say that previous research links social isolation and loneliness as a result of hearing loss, both of which are known risk factors for cognitive decline. It’s also thought that hearing issues may direct brainpower towards processing sound, at the expense of energy spent on memory and other thinking.

No one is too young to start looking after their hearing. Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age. Our clinicians regularly see people who are experiencing hearing loss as a result of excessive noise exposure in the workplace or to music. In fact, we actually recommend that the age of 18 is a good place to start getting regular hearing checks!

Although we talked about toothache earlier, seeing a hearing specialist is nowhere near as scary as going to the dentist is perceived to be. There’s no need to be nervous about your hearing check. Let’s look at what’s involved. You’ll meet a clinician, who is a trained audiologist or audiometrist. This is when you can talk about any hearing concerns you might be noticing. The clinician will also ask you a few questions to establish a bit about your hearing health.

Then we move into what’s called the ‘diagnostic’ part of the appointment, the hearing test. You’ll wear headphones or earphones, and your clinician will play a series of tones to you at different volume levels. You simply tell us which ones you can hear! It’s that easy.

If you’d like to learn about the hearing check process in more detail, check out this blog article by Shane Bullivant, audiometrist and Director of our ihear clinics shares in detail, what will happen during a hearing check-up. Shane recommends that you bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment. This not only helps you to take everything thing in, but might also help you to feel less anxious if you’re a bit worried.

Once you’ve had a quick and painless hearing test, our audiologist or audiometrist can discuss your results. There will be two likely outcomes. The best one is that everything is as good as gold and we refer you back for another hearing check in 1-5 years, depending on your current age.

If we notice there is an opportunity to improve your hearing, your clinician will discuss your individual needs such as occupation, lifestyle and budget and talk you though suitable treatment options. And you can pat yourself on the back for addressing the issue early. It’s a win-win situation, really!

If you’re ready to keep your health in top form, let’s get a hearing check in that diary. Book an appointment with your local ihear hearing specialist today

Author: ihear Australia