Hearing tests are, for the most part, very simple and fast procedures that determine levels of hearing loss based on your ability to hear sounds. Although a hearing test may seem like an unnecessary evil, the way we receive and interpret sound is actually quite complicated and requires an expert to judge if it is working correctly.

How Our Ears Work

We are able to perceive sound through vibrations in our environment that create sound waves. When we hear noises, we are actually interpreting the sound waves that our ears convert into nerve impulses and send to our brain. The sound waves first enter through the ear canal to the eardrum, which receives and transfers the vibrations to the bones of the middle ear. These bones then magnify the vibrations and send them to the inner ear. Within the fluid-filled inner ear is the cochlea, which hosts tiny hair cells that bend with the vibrations. It’s these hair cells that create the nerve impulses that our brains receive from the cochlear nerve and interpret as sound.

If any part of this system is disrupted, you hearing could be greatly compromised. Thankfully, there are many ways to know if you need to schedule a hearing test. Here are the top 3 Reasons why you need to get your hearing tested:

1) If you are fifty-five years of age or older, it’s highly recommended that you have your hearing tested annually. Regardless of whether or not you have noticed symptoms of hearing loss, a decline in hearing around this age makes it important for you to try and discover hearing loss when it is the most manageable. This will make it easier to understand and handle any issues with your hearing in the future.

2) You should also prepare for annual hearing tests if you are frequently exposed to loud noises. Because prolonged noise exposure is one of the top causes of hearing loss, a hearing test should take priority if you work or spend lots of time in environments with loud noise.

3) Another reason to schedule a hearing test would be if you notice any signs or symptoms of hearing loss. Having difficulty hearing people in group conversations, on the phone, or in busy settings are all signs that you might be suffering from hearing loss. Even young and middle-aged adults should be aware of these symptoms, and keep in mind that you can also help others notice symptoms in their hearing. If someone around you notices that you are exhibiting hearing loss related symptoms, scheduling a hearing test to be safe is the best choice of action.

If you decide to take a free online hearing test and discover that you have hearing loss, there are many supportive and healthy options you can take that will greatly improve your daily life and even reduce the chances of your hearing loss getting worse (see ITC hearing aid cost). Without the help of a hearing aid, your brain will lose practice at converting sound into speech and at some point you will lose the ability to recognize sounds as language. This is why being aware of the signs of hearing loss and having the initiative to schedule hearing tests are important to maintaining your health.