Test Your Hearing Right Now!

Hearing Aid

What? Is this something you hear yourself saying more often than ever? Well, you're certainly not alone. About one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems.

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One reason for the recent rise in hearing difficulties is that people are simply living longer, and that means that age-related hearing loss occurs more often. The other reason is that we live in an extremely noisy world. It's estimated that more than half the mp3 devices sold have volume levels that can go past a safe level of noise. Hearing music at this leve - 89 decibels or above - virtually guarantees a loss in hearing.

For people with age-related hearing loss, the condition can creep up gradually and be almost unnoticeable. Many times it's family or friends who are the first to realize there's something wrong.

If the person with the hearing loss doesn't recognize what's going on, or is not willing to see a specialist about the condition, the consequences can be awkward and depressing.

A study by the National Council on Aging showed that people with hearing loss who didn't use a hearing aid suffered from embarrassment, anxiety and depression. They cut back on their social lives because it became too frustrating to try to talk to people. In the most serious cases, they suffered anxiety-related disorders like dizziness, high blood pressure, muscular pains and digestive problems.

But now you can evaluate your hearing by taking this hearing loss self-test. If you answer "yes" to 3 or more questions, it's a good idea to make an appointment to be tested professionally.

Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?

Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are speaking at the same time?

Do people complain that you turn the TV or radio volume up too high?

Do you have to strain to understand a one-to-one conversation?

Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?

Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?

Do many people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?

Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond in a way that may embarrass you?

Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you're unsure of your answers and want to find out more before consulting a specialist, you can take this online hearing test that will play actual sounds in a noisy atmosphere and evaluate your hearing. Click here to take the test.

Robin Westen is ThirdAge's medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her newest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V Is For Vagina."