Listen Up! Better Hearing Leads to Better Health

by Millennium Physician Group

Take This At-Home Hearing Test

Think about the last time you were in a social or group setting. Maybe dinner with friends, your weekly card night, or a pickleball playoff. Now, think about this morning at home. Did you catch the local news on TV or take a surprise phone call from your grandkids? Now, ask yourself, in any of those instances did you: 

  • Have trouble hearing over the phone 
  • Find it hard to follow conversations 
  • Ask people to repeat themselves 
  • Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complained 
  • Think that others seem to mumble 
  • Have a problem understanding when women and children spoke to you 

In the United States, it’s estimated that one in eight people over the age of 12 has hearing loss in both ears. Despite the prevalence of hearing loss, studies show that only around 20% of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. This can have a significant impact on your quality of life. It’s been shown that hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline. 

 Some people have a hearing problem and don’t realize it, and the National Institutes of Health recommends seeing your doctor if you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms. Regular hearing tests are recommended for individuals of all ages, but especially if you’re at a higher risk for hearing loss, this includes if you’re older,you have a family history of hearing loss, and if you have a history of noise exposure. 

Test Your Hearing At Home

If you’re not really sure if you’re hearing has gotten worse lately, even before you make that appointment with your doctor, a hearing test is an easy first step. And you can even get the ball rolling by taking a simple one over the phone from the comfort of your own home. The National Hearing Test is easy and convenient, and your results are confidential. The test is $8 or AARP members can take a free test. 

The National Hearing Test is a screening test you can take over the telephone. You’ll listen to three-digit sequences presented in a background of white noise and then enter the digits using your phone keypad. The first of its kind in the US, the test was developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health with the goal of giving you information to help you decide if you should seek a full-scale evaluation. 

Medicare May Cover Your Hearing Evaluation

If you’re covered by Medicare, it’s important to note that Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams when ordered by a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. Medicare may cover hearing aids in some cases, but coverage can be limited. Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional coverage for hearing aids and related services. It’s important to review the specific details of your Medicare coverage to understand what is and isn’t covered. 

Regardless of insurance coverage, it’s important for individuals to prioritize their hearing health and get regular hearing tests. By catching hearing loss early on, individuals can take steps to manage and treat it, reducing the impact it has on their daily lives. 

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