The Most ‘Missed’ Health-related Test: the hearing test

Ed Note: This is the first of what I hope will be many monthly contributions by Audiologist and Hearing Professional Glen Sutherland. Glen has worked with babies, children and adults of all ages and has a wealth of knowledge and experience that he is happy to share with readers.

Increasingly, research studies confirm that hearing is seldom routinely checked. A study from Virginia Commonwealth University shows that one of the most routinely missed health-related tests is the hearing test, being bypassed by physicians nearly 70 percent of the time. (Molly Raisch, The Most Neglected Health Test for Men, Men’s Health Magazine, April 19, 2012)

The effects of hearing loss, no matter how small, can be significant. Hearing loss can significantly reduce quality of life, especially the ability to communicate effectively; thereby, causing misunderstandings and restricting a person’s capacity to interact with others.

Left untreated, hearing loss may result in false diagnoses of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because of the symptomatic similarities. In some cases, hearing tests may suggest the presence of other related problems such as cancer, depression and cardiovascular disease.

Early identification of hearing loss plays an important role in limiting its adverse effects. It starts with a simple hearing test. Typically, hearing tests are quick (approximately 20 minutes to complete the test) and painless.

What do you have to lose? If the hearing test results indicate normal hearing, you have peace of mind knowing that your hearing is still within normal limits and your hearing health care professional has a baseline of your current hearing levels which can be used to compare with any future test results. If the hearing results indicate some type and degree of hearing loss, you can start to do something positive to help improve the quality of your hearing and your life.

Glen Sutherland, MCISc

Please note that the information in this blog is presented for the purpose of providing information and should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment nor should it be used in place of medical advice from your doctor or hearing professional.


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