If you are like most people, you probably know how important it is to have an eye care exam at least once every other year, if not annually. What you probably don’t know is that you need to have your hearing checked regularly. This is especially true if you are middle-aged or older.
At Wichita Falls Hearing, we encourage patients to have their hearing checked every year starting at 45 years of age. Here are some reasons why annual hearing tests are just as important as other health screenings as you age.
The Importance of Getting Your Hearing Tested
Many people assume that a hearing test is for people who already have issues with their hearing, but there are several situations that can cause you to develop hearing problems without you realizing. These include:
Changes in the Inner Ear
The inner ear has a tiny organ called a cochlea. Inside the cochlea is the fluid that regulates the balance of the body and controls how sound waves hit the auditory nerves. There are also many tiny hair-like fibers called cilia, and on top of each cilia strand is a stereocilia. These tiny, microscopic fibers vibrate and move in relation to sound waves entering the ear. They pass signals on to the auditory nerve, which sends the signals to the brain for interpretation.
As you age, the stereocilia decline and the cilia die or shrink away. As cilia die, you have fewer “sound receptors” for noises you hear. Initially, you might not notice changes in sound levels and clarity, but after some time the changes become more noticeable. An annual hearing test will catch these changes as they begin to occur and they will be monitored for more extreme changes in hearing. Additionally, a hearing care specialist at our Wichita Falls Hearing clinic can help you prevent further hearing loss while maintaining the hearing you have.
Hearing Loss as a Result to Noise Pollution
Maybe you live in a noisy neighborhood, or you have worked a job where loud noises are a daily thing. Whatever the situation, frequent exposure to long-term noise above a certain decibel level can cause hearing loss too. You should also know that this type of hearing loss is compounded in old age, creating the perfect equation for greater hearing loss than if you hadn’t been exposed to a lot of noise.
The best thing you can do is to remove yourself from sources of noise pollution, especially if you want to preserve your ability to hear as you get older. The second-best thing, of course, is to have your hearing checked. An auditory exam will more quickly discover hearing loss that is due to noise pollution and provide you with the means and extra-auditory equipment to preserve your hearing for a long time.
Injuries to the Head and Ears
Finally, if you have ever hit your head hard and suffered from a concussive blow to the back or side of your head, or you have been in a car accident where you injured your head, you may suffer from hearing loss. This type of hearing loss results from injuries out of your control. The damaged auditory nerves or damage to your ears (either outside or inside the ear) results in an inability to hear clearly and effectively.
In some cases where the cochlea is the main part of the ear that was injured, you may be able to restore hearing with an implant, but it won’t be quite the same. These types of auditory injuries don’t always fully heal, escalating the natural hearing loss you would have experienced later in life. As a result, you may have to wear a hearing aid or other device to hear better. A doctor can repair your auditory damage only up to a certain point, and then you may need to rely on supportive and assistive devices to hear.
It’s important that any time you have experienced a head injury of this nature you have an annual auditory exam. Changes may happen rapidly, or you may be fine for a while and then suddenly experience a rapid deterioration in hearing. Delayed deterioration in hearing after an accident happens more often than you may think. A hearing exam by one of our hearing care specialists in our Wichita Falls Hearing clinic can diagnose this medical condition faster and provide solutions that help.
What to Do Once a Hearing Care Specialist Discovers a Hearing Deficit
If you do find a hearing deficit during a hearing test, don’t fret. There are lots of devices that can help you hear better. Many of these devices won’t make you feel self-conscious either.
For example, there are tiny hearing aids that fit inside the ear canal. They have a small “antenna” that allows you to grab the hearing aid with a fingernail when you want to take the hearing aid out at night. The best part is that these newer, tinier hearing aids also use Bluetooth and wireless technology for perfect clarity and recharge.
Otherwise, you can choose from behind-the-ear models, exterior ear models, and in ear canal types of hearing aids. The closer the hearing aids sit to your eardrum, the smaller and more compact the receivers and transmitters become. You can discuss all the options with a hearing care specialist when you begin your search for the right hearing aids for you.
When You Are Deaf or Really Hard of Hearing, There’s Options for You Too
Being legally deaf means that you cannot hear and decipher most sounds, although you might still hear a faint whisper of some of the loudest sounds around. You might possibly hear nothing at all, too, but don’t despair. A hearing specialist can still help you if you can’t hear well or hear at all. Assistive technology and devices for the hard of hearing have advanced immensely in the last few decades. You might be surprised to find that several of these devices are unobtrusive, and allow you to live your life without any interference.
People who are hard of hearing or deaf still need to have their hearing checked as well. The reason for this is that there are parts of your ear that are responsible for motion, balance, and more. A hearing exam looks at these parts of the ears as well to ensure that the person doesn’t suffer from vertigo which could result in them falling and breaking bones as the result of other inner ear structural issues.
Come See Us When You’re Ready for Your Next Hearing Exam!
Wichita Falls Hearing in Wichita Falls, Graham, Vernon, and nearby North Texas has some of the best hearing care specialists in the business. If you need your hearing checked, we will perform the necessary hearing tests and find out if you need a hearing device. After which we can help you find the best hearing devices to suit you and your lifestyle.
Call us at 833-999-1940 today or request an appointment online today!