How Often Should You Have a Diagnostic Hearing Test? - Attune
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How Often Should You Have a Diagnostic Hearing Test?

Hearing Test

How often you should get a hearing test depends on various factors that can affect your hearing, such as your age and profession to previously diagnosed hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be impacted by a whole range of causes. The rate at which hearing loss deteriorates varies from person to person, however, most hearing losses occur slowly over time.

Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question, this article will estimate how often you should get a hearing test based on the factors below. 

If You Wear Hearing Aids 

It’s recommended that those who wear hearing aids get their hearing tested every 12 months, no matter if their hearing loss was acquired or genetically inherited. 

As hearing deterioration is often subtle and happens over a period of time, we are often unaware that it’s happening. 

However, for hearing aid users, a common sign that their hearing loss has deteriorated is having to increase the TV volume. Another sign is noticing an increase in tinnitus levels. Tinnitus can be in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). Given hearing deterioration, having your audiologist adjust your hearing aids helps manage tinnitus. 

If You Work in Loud Environments 

Individuals who work in environments involving excessive industrial noise are recommended to have annual hearing checks. 

The main purpose of getting your hearing checked annually is to evaluate whether hearing protection policies may need to be implemented.

Although it’s recommended to get your hearing checked every 12 months if you work in a noisy environment, you should book a hearing test as soon as possible if you feel as though your hearing has deteriorated. Your employer may also suggest a full hearing test. 

Ear Pathology

Ear Pathology 

There are multiple ear pathologies in which 12-month hearing tests are generally suggested. 

Acoustic neuromas 

Acoustic neuromas are tumours that develop on the hearing nerve and are very slow in progression. Common symptoms for acoustic neuromas include

  • Facial numbness
  • Unsteadiness/balance problems
  • Unilateral tinnitus
  • Poor hearing in one ear
  • A blocked feeling in the affected ear

Meniere’s disease

Another ear pathology that may require annual hearing tests is Meniere’s disease. The typical symptoms of Meniere’s disease include

  • Vertigo with nausea/vomiting
  • Blockage sensation
  • Unilateral tinnitus
  • Poorer hearing in the affected ear

The symptoms of Meniere’s disease can fluctuate for patients. For example, fluctuating hearing loss or fluctuating tinnitus. 

However, if you feel your symptoms getting worse, contact your otolaryngologist to assess the potential need to alter your management plan if necessary. 

Children and Middle Ear 

Hearing loss can occur at all ages. However, the anatomy of children’s ears makes them more susceptible to middle ear issues, such as ear infections or Eustachian tube dysfunction. 

Children often outgrow middle ear-related issues, so it can be difficult to know when they should have a hearing test. 

One way to have a better understanding is to look out for signs of middle ear issues, such as 

  • If your child complains about pain or ringing in one or both of their ears, it may be a sign to have their hearing tested.
  • If your child is not at the stage to produce speech, pulling their ears may be another sign of expressing discomfort. 
  • Fluid discharging from their ear is another sign to book your child in for a hearing test. 

As the passages of our ears, nose and throat are intertwined, colder seasons often see a greater influx of children getting hearing tests.  

Presbycusis

Presbycusis 

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is another reason to have your hearing tested yearly. 

Presbycusis is often seen by the age of 60+ and develops slowly in nature. 

Tinnitus, which can affect one or both ears, signifies that you may have hearing loss and should get your hearing checked. 

Other Factors 

Ototoxic agents 

Ototoxic agents can have detrimental effects on your hearing, and they are often permanent. 

In the form of medication, the two most documented ototoxic agents are aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin, and platinum-based chemotherapy agents, such as cisplatin. A side effect of undergoing these treatments is tinnitus. 

Aminoglycoside antibiotic-induced hearing loss may not necessarily show on your hearing test straight away, it could occur a few months after completing treatment. Therefore, you should consider having your hearing tested further down the road if you notice changes in your hearing after finishing the antibiotics. 

Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment containing ototoxic agents usually have their hearing tested at the hospital according to their treatment plan. Chemotherapy patients also typically have their hearing tested a lot more frequently, often after completing a treatment cycle. 

Patients can also expect to have their hearing tested months after completing their treatment, as effects on their hearing may show well beyond completing treatment. 

Otosclerosis 

Otosclerosis is a condition affecting the bone structure behind the eardrum and can affect either ear. 

This condition usually involves the smallest last bone fixating onto the cochlea due to abnormally large bone growth. 

Otosclerosis can be inherited, is more common in females and can often be accelerated after conceiving. Therefore, if you have a family history of otosclerosis, it may be time to get your hearing tested. 

If you are diagnosed with otosclerosis, your treating otolaryngologist will set a timeframe for routine checks, usually involving having your hearing tested again. 

Routine hearing checks may range from annually to once every few years. 

To Sum It Up 

Hearing loss can be genetically inherited or acquired, and different structures of our auditory system can be affected. 

There are a range of different factors that determine how often you should get a hearing test, but if you notice a change in your hearing at any time, it’s best to book a hearing test

If you think it’s time to book a hearing test, contact your nearest Attune Hearing clinic. You can book an appointment online or contact us on 1300 736 702. 

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