Between routine checkups when you’re a child and hearing aid evaluations when you’re an older adult with age-related hearing loss, many people think they have your hearing health well-covered. Despite how common and varying hearing problems are among people of all ages, many of us remain unaware of when we should see an audiologist beyond these milestones. For maximum hearing health, be mindful of these three signs you might need to see an audiologist.
1. You (or your child) have excess earwax buildup
Earwax cleans, protects and disinfects our ears, but sometimes you might produce too much of it. Rather than trying to remove it yourself with unsafe methods like cotton swabs or excess use of earwax drops, this is something an audiologist can take care of safely, quickly and professionally. They’ll also be able to examine your ears for any signs of damage the earwax might have caused, whether infections or injuries to your eardrum.
2. You experience tinnitus
Tinnitus is an annoying, distracting ringing in the ears that at least 26 million Americans experience. It can come and go and might be mild or intense. More than just an annoyance you’ve learned how to cope with, tinnitus can be a sign of underlying hearing loss. A major support for this link between tinnitus and hearing loss is that it frequently disappears once an audiologist fits an individual with hearing aids.
Even if an audiologist determines your tinnitus is not related to hearing loss, there are special masking devices and other methods that can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
3. You’ve experienced a trauma that caused sudden hearing loss
Sometimes hearing loss is caused by accident – a sudden trauma to the ears, a drastic change in air pressure (such as from airplane) or an extremely loud noise within close range, such as a gunshot. Even if you experience sudden hearing loss without any pain, you shouldn’t just wait to see if your hearing returns. Any time you lose your hearing, it should be treated as a serious health concern. Don’t wait – get to an audiologist as soon as possible for assessment and treatment.
Audiologists are experts on hearing loss and other hearing conditions, and the most educated, qualified professionals to care for your hearing health. Don’t neglect your routine checkups, but make sure to contact an audiologist if you experience any of these additional concerns.