If you are over the age of 50 or have reason to suspect you're suffering from auditory impairment, getting a hearing test from a qualified source (ie, an audiologist) is a good first step in determining your situation. If it turns out that you have lost some of your sensory ability, there could be treatments available. Even if there are no medical solutions (such as the case with sensorineural loss), there are listening aids that can help tremendously. The worst thing to do is to go on without knowing. You owe it to yourself, your friends, and your family to get screened. Here are some frequent concerns and their answers.

Can earwax be the cause of my poor hearing test results?

This can certainly be the case. Earwax is actually one of the most common treatable causes of auditory loss. The good news is that it can almost always be removed, which should restore your ability to hear completely. There are even methods of getting the wax out yourself. By using special eardrops to soften the wax, you can sometimes remove a plug by flushing it out with water. However, if this is unsuccessful, see a doctor and have it taken care of professionally. Do not attempt to put anything in your ear, grab it out, or use shady methods like candling. This can lead to permanent injury.

How can I even afford a listening aid?

It can come as a bit of a shock to the uninitiated when they realize how expensive a listening aid can be. When you need two of them, the price is naturally going to be double that cost. This can be a lot for anyone on anything resembling a budget. While a good insurance plan will usually cover some of the costs, very few – if any – will cover even half the price. It pays to shop around to find the best price, although it is not necessarily the best idea to purchase a cheaper model if you really need the help a more expensive model can give you. If you want to upgrade in another year, it will be an entirely new out-of-pocket expense and there is not much of a market for used aids. It's better to buy what you need the first time.

How do I know if I need a hearing test?

There are a number of common symptoms of auditory loss. If you begin experiencing any of them, you should get your ears professionally checked. Are your friends and family complaining of your television volume? Some people just like the TV loud, but if you need it that high to hear it, there could be a problem. If you notice you're having difficulty following conversations or understanding movie dialogue, these could also be signs that you should get screened.