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Why I Don’t Like Getting My Hearing Tested

the importance of hearing tests and why I don't like themShari can be found discussing all aspects of living with hearing loss on her website. This post was originally featured there.

I dread getting my hearing tested. First of all, it is never fun to be shut in a quiet room knowing you are about to fail a test. And it’s not because I didn’t study hard enough! It can also be frightening to see if my hearing loss has progressed since the last test. Knowing my family history, there is a high risk that my hearing loss will continue to worsen over time. But the hardest part is often the tinnitus. How am I supposed to take the test when I already hear so many sounds of my own making? I find myself wondering, “Is that tone I hear part of the test or is it my tinnitus?”

My tinnitus usually sounds like a fluorescent light bulb, but can also manifest as a sustained high pitch tone. It would be easier to edit out the tinnitus from the hearing test if it always sounded the same, but many times it has a unique sound quality which is hard to identify. Plus, my anxiety level is always a little elevated, which probably kicks my tinnitus into overdrive.

I am typically an eager test-taker — I always loved tests in school (don’t laugh) — so it is just in my DNA to try to do well on the hearing test. Perhaps that makes me a bit overzealous since I tend to have many false positives, which makes my hearing test reliability fairly low. When I review the results, I always wonder if any stability in my hearing test is real or if I just got lucky this time with the false positives. I guess I will never really know.

Despite these challenges, I have gotten my hearing tested every couple of years for the past 20 years. In this way I have been able to watch as my high pitch hearing went from perfect to a mild loss, and my mid-range frequency hearing dropped further into moderate loss territory. My low pitch hearing has remained in the mild loss range for much of this time.

When I really want to scare myself, I look at my father’s old hearing test. I have one from when he was in his 60s. Since my loss is genetic, I wonder if this will be my fate. His mid-range and high pitch hearing were deep in the severe loss range while his lower frequencies were in the moderate loss area. I only have the one test so I don’t know how severe his loss was at my age, but it is hard for me to imagine what my hearing would be like with such a steep drop off in my higher pitches, even 20 years from now.

Despite my trepidation about the tests, I think knowledge is power and so I continue to get my hearing tested regularly. I also try to keep abreast of new developments in hearing aid technology and stay current on the leading scientific research being done in this space. The good news is that advancements are being made consistently, and as my hearing continues to worsen, there will likely be even better technological and/or biological products available. Let’s hope so.

Readers, do you dread getting your hearing tested?

Shari Eberts

Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing loss.

Janice Ferguson

Thursday 8th of September 2016

I do get my hearing tested on a regular basis. I know I'm getting worse but there is nothing I can do to stop it so I don't really dread it. What I do dread is trying to scrape up the money to buy new hearing aids. I'm still paying for the current pair and they are 5 years old already.

Kerry

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Hi Shari I don't like having hearing tests, although I don't suffer from tinnitus but I do understand when you wonder if you have heard a sound or is your brain copying what you've heard? I find after tests I get what I call echoes of the sounds that I have heard and its so annoying! Still a hearing test is necessary to get your hearing aids at the right levels that you are comfortable with. My hearing loss is not hereditary but through mother having rubella during pregnancy. It wasn't until I was 4 years old that they discovered I was severely deaf!! Good luck in your future. Regards, Kerry

Shari Eberts

Thursday 19th of May 2016

Good luck to you as well! Thanks for sharing your story.

Rena McDaniel

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

I haven't had my hearing tested in a very long time, I know I really need to go but I will try to put it off as long as possible.

Shari Eberts

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

I encourage you to go sooner rather than later. It is always best to know. Thanks for your comment.

kymberlyfunfit

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Talk about coincidence. I just posted a link to a free hearing test. Like you, I want to prep, study, and ace exams. But this kind can't be bolstered. I can only imagine what it's like to have tinnitus. YUCK! I hope your hearing loss has not progressed.

Shari Eberts

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Thanks for your comment!

Meryl

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Yes - I know I need hearing aids but dread spending the $$$.

Shari Eberts

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

They are expensive, but can make such a world of difference. Costco has some good options at more reasonable prices.

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