THE IMPORTANCE OF BASELINE HEARING TESTS
When is the last time you had your hearing checked? If you’re like most adults in the United States, the answer is “never”, or maybe “sometime in grade school”, or “when I left the military. . .20 years ago.”
We all go to our primary care doctor for a physical once per year. We get our eyes checked, and our teeth cleaned every six months. If we don’t, we know we should be doing these things.
A frequent comment we hear from patients is “if I had a problem with my hearing, my primary care physician would tell me.” This is untrue—unless you are reporting symptoms of hearing loss, it is very likely that your primary care physician will know you are struggling with your hearing. He or she most often meets with you in a small enclosed room, one-on-one. There are no sources of competing background noise. He or she is often standing or sitting close enough to touch you. They are looking at your when they speak, and are speaking loudly and clearly. Most people hear fairly well in this environment, unless they have a very severe hearing loss.
A baseline hearing test is important in early adulthood, and should be completed in your 20s or 30s. Hearing loss is most often a gradual change, but can happen suddenly—as a result of illness or injury, for example. It is important to have a baseline hearing test to which you can compare if you notice any changes.
Many common illnesses and health conditions can impact hearing levels. Individuals with sinus or allergy concerns should have their hearing checked to determine whether or not their symptoms are impacting their hearing levels. Individuals with chronic health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney issues can also experience hearing loss. Research shows that individuals with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk for dementia and cognitive decline.
Did you know that your health insurance covers comprehensive hearing testing? Most of us have separate health insurance to cover vision or dental care—this is not true of hearing healthcare. Hearing testing is including in your general medical coverage, including most Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna and Aetna plans.
Ready to schedule your baseline hearing test? Give the office a call at (410) 672-1233 (Odenton), (410) 672-1244 (Severna Park) or (410) 956-2555 (Edgewater).