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 hearing loss.
  • Almost 1 in 2 Americans over age 75 have hearing loss.

It’s also possible to develop hearing loss due to noise. This is true at any age – and it can happen suddenly or over time. As many as 40 million Americans under age 70 may have a hearing problem caused by being around loud noise.

Start by talking with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist or other health professional for a hearing test.

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 alone or depressed
  • Have other health problems

The good news is that if you have a hearing problem, there are things you can do to hear better. That’s why it’s important to get your hearing checked.

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The Basics: Signs of Hearing Loss

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

If you have hearing loss, you may have trouble hearing or understanding family members, friends, or coworkers. It may also help to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do I hear ringing in my ears?
  • Do I have trouble hearing the TV or radio when others don't?
  • Do I 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:

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The Basics: Treatment

What can I do if I have hearing loss?

There are many products, tools, and devices that can help with hearing loss:

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

If you think you have hearing loss, a doctor can help you figure out which options are right for you.

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Take Action!

Take Action: Get a Hearing Test

To find out if you have hearing loss, the first step is to get tested.

Ask your doctor about getting your hearing tested.

If you are worried about your hearing, talk with your doctor. Your doctor or nurse may refer you to a hearing specialist or other health professional for a hearing test – or for help with your hearing. Learn more about doctors who can help with hearing loss.

What about cost?

Check with your insurance provider to find out if your plan covers the cost of a hearing test. Medicare may also cover hearing tests with a referral from your doctor.

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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, speak louder, and talk clearly
  • 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
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Take Action: Protect Your Ears

Protect your ears from loud noises.

Loud noises can cause hearing loss – no matter how old you are. To help prevent damage to your hearing:

  • Wear earplugs or special earmuffs if you are going to be around loud sounds, like at a construction site or a concert.
  • Keep the volume low when you listen to music through earbuds or headphones.

Learn about safe noise levels and how to avoid noises that can damage your hearing.

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