U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Get Your Hearing Checked

The Basics

The Basics: Overview

If you are worried that you might have hearing loss, you aren’t alone. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age.

  • Almost 1 in 4 Americans between ages 65 and 74 have a hearing problem.
  • Almost 1 in 2 Americans over age 75 have a hearing problem.

It’s also possible to develop hearing loss due to noise. This can happen at any age.

  • More than 1 in 10 Americans between ages 20 and 69 have a hearing problem caused by being around loud noise.

Start by asking your doctor for a hearing test. Depending on your test results, your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist.

Hearing problems are serious.
Hearing loss can be frustrating and even dangerous. If you have hearing loss, you may:

  • Have trouble hearing doorbells or alarms
  • Miss important directions or warnings
  • Feel lonely or depressed

Some hearing problems get worse without treatment. That’s why it’s important to get your hearing checked.

If you find out you have a hearing problem, you can take steps to deal with it before it gets worse. There are also products that can help with hearing loss, like hearing aids.

Next section 1 of 6 sections

The Basics: Signs of Hearing Loss

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you hear ringing in your ears?
  • Do people say your TV is too loud?
  • Do you have trouble hearing on the telephone?
  • Do you have trouble hearing when there’s noise in the background?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may have hearing loss. Take this quiz to find out if you might have a hearing problem.

Check out the links below to learn more about:

Next section Previous section 2 of 6 sections

The Basics: Treatment

How is hearing loss treated?
There are many products that can help with hearing loss:

  • Hearing aids you wear in or behind your ear
  • Special phones that make sounds louder
  • Tools to help you hear in places like a classroom or theater (called assistive listening devices)
  • TVs that also show text (called closed captioning)
  • Flashing lights to let you know when an alarm or doorbell is ringing

If you think you have hearing loss, start by seeing a doctor. Find out which treatment options are right for you. 

Next section Previous section 3 of 6 sections

Take Action!

Take Action: Get a Hearing Test

Take steps to find out if you have hearing loss.

Ask your doctor about a hearing test.
If you are worried about your hearing, talk to a doctor. Call your doctor or nurse and make an appointment for a hearing test. You may also be able to get a hearing test at your local health department or hospital.

What about cost?
Private health insurance or Medicare may cover the cost of a hearing test. Check with your insurance provider to find out if you are covered. Medicare may also cover hearing tests with a referral from your doctor.

You can still get some screening tests even if you don’t have insurance. To learn more, find a health center near you.

Next section Previous section 4 of 6 sections

Take Action: Living with Hearing Loss

Talk to your friends and family.
If you have trouble hearing, your friends and family need to know. They can make small changes to help you hear better when they talk. Ask them to:

  • Find a quiet place to talk where there isn’t a lot of background noise
  • Face you and talk clearly
  • Speak slowly
  • Keep their hands away from their mouths while they talk
  • Avoid eating or chewing gum while talking with you
  • Repeat what they said if you didn’t hear it the first time 
  • Write down important information for you
Next section Previous section 5 of 6 sections

Take Action: Protect Your Ears

Protect your ears from loud noises.
Loud noises can cause hearing loss – no matter how old you are. Wear earplugs or special earmuffs if you are going to be around loud noises, like at a construction site or concert. This can help prevent damage to your hearing.

Previous section 6 of 6 sections