Getting your hearing checked out on a regular basis is important, especially as you get older; hearing tests can detect minor problems and slight changes in your hearing before they get worse; they can also identify any other ear related problems such as infections, swelling, or even just a buildup of earwax. Moreover, hearing tests can determine whether you need to look into options for hearing aids and digital hearing care. You are entitled to a free hearing check, which can take different forms, although you can pay for private care and follow up tests.
In terms of whether you’re entitled to a free hearing check, the short answer is yes. You can opt to use over the phone tests, which can quickly examine whether you’re experiencing common forms of hearing loss. Free online hearing checks can also be found online through bodies such as the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, and through Boots. These tests will give you a basic indication as to whether you need to take any further action with hearing loss.
You’re also entitled to free hearing tests through the NHS; this can involve making an appointment with your local GP, who can run a 15 minute or so check to see whether you respond to hearing stimuli, while checking for any infections or problems that might be causing you issues with your hearing. Your GP can similarly refer you an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist for a longer exam. Many opticians will also provide free hearing tests with qualified audiologists.
If you want further and potentially longer hearing checks, you can explore private options in your area; this can mean visit a private clinic, or having someone come to your home to run tests. In terms of average costs, a full ENT consultation that uses a wide range of different instruments and methods can cost you about £30 or more, which can then be combined with recommendations over how you should proceed if you are experiencing prolonged forms of hearing loss.
Getting a Hearing Aid
Moving from tests to getting a hearing aid means checking out the free hearing aids available through the NHS; you can pick up over the ear and other hearings for free, although you might find that the choice and options for adjustment are fairly limited compared to the hearing aids you can find by going private or through a hearing aid dispenser. Digital hearing aids and invisible hearing aids that fit within your ear canal so as not to be seen by other people can cost upwards of a few thousand pounds, but will come with regular after-care and testing services.
It’s worth, then, taking advantage of free hearing tests every few years; you probably only need to check your hearing as a routine test every five years if you’re aged 18 to 45, and more frequently as you get older. If you are experiencing hearing pain or loss as the result of an injury or after attending a loud concert, make sure you have a checkup with your GP to see if you need any further care beyond waiting for your ear to heal.