Hello, Great question!
1. You have a variety of options to checking your hearing. Let's be clear here checking or screening your hearing compared to an audiological assessment are two different methods to 'check' your hearing.
1a) A hearing screening, typically takes 5 or 10 minutes (depending on where you get this done) OR if you choose to do this via an app or hearable/wearable product (E.G your own set of headphones/ear buds paired to your smart device). A screening is not a diagnostic measure, it can give you a snap shot of your hearing levels, but it can not do much more. It's a good starting point, however be wary of the quality of applications and your chosen headset to screen your hearing.
1b) An audiological assessment, provided by an audiologist, currently done in a clinic, assesses the main hearing pathways. An audiological assessment may determine what and where is happening along your hearing pathway. This appointment can take up to 30minutes, sometimes more. A detailed history, assessment and results/solutions are presented in this appointment. I can not stress the value of these assessments enough. The audiogram (hearing test) is a form of measurement with results and the counselling provided by the audiologist to help you understand the results and your situation is important.
Both methods provide you with options on how to assess your hearing. If in doubt, see an audiologist. An audiologist can provide you with specific solutions to your hearing/listening needs.
2. How often should one check their hearing? It depends on your situation.
I say don't wait till you can't cope in social situations or you feel you are missing the conversation, the sooner you have your hearing checked the sooner you can manage your situation. It can be reassuring to know how to correctly protect your ears in your work or social environments OR how to manage hearing technologies earlier, for example hearing aids (medical grade device) or a hearable (consumer electronic/product). It's a smart idea to incorporate hearing checks when you get your eye's, blood pressure or general check up around 50-55years, pending family history, noise and/or chemical occupational exposure, recreational noise exposure, and health. Having a baseline audiogram (hearing test) provides valuable insight into future impact on hearing thresholds and quality of relationships.
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