Hearing Testing 101 – Part 2: What to Do After a Hearing Test

What to do after a hearing testIf you read last month’s blog, you learned about hearing testing – what a hearing test shows, who needs one, and why it’s important. Now that you or a loved one has had a hearing test, can you just sit back and relax? Not so much. What you do next depends a little on your age, and a lot on the degree of hearing loss that was discovered, if any.

Infants with Hearing Loss

If a newborn hearing screening shows normal hearing, you can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. Although this is great news, it doesn’t mean that hearing loss won’t show up later, however. It’s important to continue regular hearing testing as your child grows; this will ensure that any hearing impairment that develops doesn’t go undetected.

If an infant’s hearing test indicates hearing abnormalities, her pediatrician may recommend further testing by an audiologist. At this stage, it’s important to determine the cause of hearing impairment, if possible. Know whether it’s a congenital abnormality, or some other medical condition. Identifying the cause will help determine what corrective action can be taken, such as surgery or medication.

Toddlers and Children with Hearing Impairments

If hearing loss is discovered at this age, it’s important to correct it as soon as possible. If left untreated it can lead to other developmental problems. A toddler with hearing loss, for example, might also develop speech delays if the hearing impairment is not corrected. Similarly, a school-aged child who can’t hear well may have difficulty with social interactions. Thic can lead to behavior problems, or difficulty in learning. Infants, toddlers, and older children can all benefit from assistive hearing devices if that is what their audiologist deems necessary to correct the problem. School-aged children can also benefit from classroom adaptations to allow for better hearing.

Teens with Hearing Loss

Hearing impairment in teenagers presents its own set of challenges, as this is when most teens try to fit in with their peers. Having difficulty hearing or wearing a hearing aid can be embarrassing to them and cause them to withdraw socially or have a poor self-esteem. Treating the impairment, and providing them with a supportive environment, will go a long way in helping them succeed both socially and academically.

Hearing Loss in Adults

A change in hearing ability as an adult can have similar effects; leading them to withdraw socially because they have difficulty hearing and partaking in conversations. This is especially true with the elderly since they often have other medical conditions that cause them to be isolated. Furthermore, adults often deny that there is even a problem with their hearing, and wait until it gets worse before seeking treatment. As with teenagers, providing a supportive environment and encouraging them to get treatment can often help adults cope better with hearing changes.

Individuals with Normal Hearing

If the hearing test came back completely normal, congratulations! You’ve taken good care of your hearing so far, but don’t stop now. Be aware of environmental, genetic, or lifestyle triggers that could cause hearing loss down the road, and continue to practice good hearing protection. Ask your doctor for periodic hearing tests to ensure any changes are caught and treated early.

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