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When to get your hearing checked

Q. Lately, it seems like I have a harder time following people in conversation
because they seem to mumble so much. Should I get my hearing tested?

A. Hearing loss is very common as people get older. One in three men over age 65 has some degree of hearing loss. Bring it up with your doctor at your regular check-up. A detailed test is not recommended for people not already experiencing trouble with their hearing.

However, you should let your doctor know if your hearing has declined. Common signs of hearing loss include difficulty hearing people on the phone or in noisy environments, or needing to turn the TV or radio volume up. Since high frequencies are often affected first, women’svoices may be harder to hear.

If your hearing has diminished, an office examination may reveal an easily corrected problem, such as wax buildup in the ear canal.Doctors often use the sound of two fingers rubbing or a watch ticking to determine if the hearing impairment is in one or both ears.

Hearing loss without any apparent physical cause usually indicates asensorineural hearing loss, or decreased function of the auditory nerve. Your doctor can arrange additional tests, called audiometry, to determine the cause of the hearing loss and assess the benefit of a hearing aid (or amplification). Audiometry does not need to be repeated unless your symptoms change significantly.

— William Kormos, M.D.
Editor in Chief, Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Posted by: Dr.Health

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