How old are YOUR ears? 30-second hearing age check can tell if you’re losing your hearing early

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  •  The test plays an increasing frequency to check if you are losing your hearing
  • Analysis of the test shows almost half of under 35s have an older hearing age

Want to know if you’ve got early signs of hearing loss? 

Well, now you can — thanks to a simple 30-second test. 

The test, created by hearing health app eargym, asks you to hit the pause button when you can no longer hear the tone playing in the background.

The frequency of the tone users can hear (measured in Hertz) is used to estimate the user’s hearing age because as we get older the harder it is for our ears to hear higher frequencies.

Most humans start off being able to hear sounds up to 20,000 Hz. 

This almost halves to 11,500 Hz when you hit your 40s and drops even further (8,000 Hz) for adults in their 60s, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. 

In a recent analysis of the results of an app-based version of this test, eargym found that almost half (47 per cent) of 16-35 year old’s have a hearing age that is older than their biological age. 

Of the 16-35 year old’s who had an older hearing age, the average age difference between their hearing age and their biological age was 13 years. 

Around 12 million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss. It is associated with social isolation and cognitive decline; and is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors when it comes to developing dementia

Andy Shanks, hearing health expert and co-founder at eargym, said: ‘The majority of us will experience some form of hearing loss in our lifetimes. 

‘But if we can spot the signs early and make some small changes, we can take steps to protect our hearing and prevent future avoidable hearing loss.’

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS?

Hearing loss is common, particularly when you get older. 

Hearing loss can affect a child’s speech development and also their progress at school.  

It can be caused by something that can be easily treated or something more serious, so it is important to visit your GP. 

Common signs of hearing loss include: 

  • Difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places 
  • Asking people to repeat themselves 
  • Listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need
  • Difficulty hearing on the phone
  • Finding it hard to keep up with a conversation
  • Feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening

Source: NHS 

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He suggests using games such as this 30 second test to check your hearing regularly and pick up on any abnormal changes. 

‘Safe listening practices, such as the use of ear defenders, gigplugs and noise-cancelling headphones, can also make a big difference when it comes to protecting our hearing health long in the future,’ Mr Shanks added. 

‘Hearing loss is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors for dementia and is strongly associated with poor mental health and cognitive decline. 

‘So taking care of our hearing at all ages is essential to protect not only our ears but also our minds.’ 

Around 12million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss. 

It is associated with social isolation and cognitive decline, and is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors when it comes to developing dementia. 

Yet adults wait an average 8.9 years before seeking help.

Research suggests hearing loss costs the UK economy £25bn a year in lost productivity and unemployment. 

Common signs you’re suffering from hearing loss include asking people to repeat themselves, difficulty hearing on the phone and listening to music or the TV at a higher volume than other people need, the NHS warns. 

There are lots of possible causes of hearing loss, such as an ear infection, ear wax or age.

But it could also be caused by a perforated eardrum, which causes a sudden hearing loss or Ménière’s disease which can affect your balance and hearing. 

If you notice signs of hearing loss it is important not to self diagnose and visit your GP for a more thorough hearing test.

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