7 Common misconceptions about hearing tests
Having a hearing test should not be about “detecting a hearing loss” – after all, who wants to know about that?
Having a hearing test is really about the means to avoid the social embarrassment, frustration to others, and the “strain on the brain” that comes from mishearing. It’s about being confident your hearing is ready for whatever life throws at it, so you can always live your best life.
Let’s stop for a moment and think differently about seeing your Audiologist about getting a hearing test. To help you, here are some misconceptions we tend to have about getting a hearing test and how it might be more useful to change our viewpoint.
- Having a hearing test is only for the elderly.
Hearing tests are for everyone no matter what age. No matter what your age is it is a good idea to know just how your hearing is. There is plenty of evidence that understanding your hearing will ensure that you are more inclined to look after your hearing.
- I’ve had my hearing test down at the shopping centre. I don’t need to get it tested again.
Having a hearing test should be like other health issues eg going to the dentist or optometrist for an annual checkup.
- I don’t need to hear so why have a hearing test.
This is an important concept. For example, you can cover your eyes, you know what it is like to be blind, however, you cannot stop yourself hearing from covering your ears, you only experience a mild hearing loss. We still hear. Our hearing is always switched on and connecting us to the world around us.
- A hearing test won’t tell me anything I don’t know already.
How do you know if you can’t hear a sound? If a sound falls outside our hearing range it simply ceases to exist if any speech sounds fall outside our hearing range, how would we know? We probably wouldn’t, not unless we had some other indication, such as a visual cue (“I can see their lips move, but there’s no sound.”)
- I don’t need a hearing test as it’s just that others don’t speak as well as they used to.
If we’ve experienced “good” hearing most of our lives then the default way for us to interpret a difficult to hear person or situation is to assume the problem lies not with ourselves, but with the signal or the other person.
- Hearing is an isolated sense.
Our hearing works seamlessly in partnership with a number of other body systems: visual, cognitive, and social. When any one of these systems is unable to fully “pull its weight”, the other systems “lend a hand”. The question is “what is the impact of a failure of one or more of these systems on our ability to live our lives as we want?”
- I’ll know when I lose my hearing.
Most changes in hearing occur gradually over a number of years, so people have nothing to compare their present hearing to. If we woke one morning to find we could suddenly no longer hear the radio, we have the immediate memory of the day before to compare with. But spread that same change across several years and our memory of how the world sounded the previous month—let alone yesterday—would be perceptibly identical to how it is this morning.
Regular check ups of just how good your hearing is a useful addition to your annual health check up.
This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Audiologist whose independent audiology practice is part of a new direction in hearing health care.