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Get Your Hearing Checked

older couple on a couch smiling

The Basics

If you are over age 65, get your hearing checked. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age.

  • 1 in 3 Americans between ages 65 and 74 has a hearing problem.
  • 1 in 2 Americans over age 75 has a hearing problem.

If you have hearing loss, you aren’t alone. Start by asking your doctor for a hearing test. Your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist.

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 lonely or depressed

Hearing problems can get worse if they aren’t treated. That’s why it’s important to get your hearing checked.

If you find out you have a hearing problem, you can take steps to deal with it before it gets worse.

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you hear ringing in your ears?
  • Do people say your TV is too loud?
  • Do you have trouble hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you 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.

Learn more about hearing loss:

How is hearing loss treated?
There are many products that can help with hearing loss:

  • Hearing aids you wear in or behind your ear
  • Special phones that make sounds louder
  • TVs that also show text (closed captioning)
  • Flashing lights to let you know when an alarm or doorbell is ringing

If you think you have hearing loss, start by seeing a doctor. Find out what treatment choices are right for you. 

Take Action!

To find out if you have hearing loss, ask your doctor for a hearing test.

Schedule a hearing test.
If you are over age 65, get tested for hearing loss. Call your doctor or health center and make an appointment for a hearing test.

What about cost?
Private health insurance or Medicare may cover the cost of a hearing test. Check with your insurance provider to find out if you are covered.

You can still get important screening tests even if you don’t have insurance. To learn more, find a health center near you.

Talk to your friends and family.
Your friends and family need to know that you have trouble hearing. Your loved ones 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 and talk clearly
  • Speak slowly
  • 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 

Protect your ears from loud noises.
Wear earplugs or special ear muffs if you need to be around loud noises, like construction or concerts. This can help prevent damage to your hearing.

getting your vision checked, another important screening for older adults.

Start Today: Small Steps

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Content last updated on: September 27, 2012

National Health Information Center

P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133