Routine Hearing Checks – How Often?

Hearing should be checked routinely throughout life. The Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals (AIHHP.org) recommend the following as guidelines for adults, although your Hearing Care Professional may advise you differently depending on your own individual circumstances.

Age Range How often
18 to 45 year olds Every 5 years
45 to 60 year olds Every 3 years
60 years plus Every 2 years

Why do the recommendations start from age 18?

Changes in hearing can occur at any time throughout life for many different reasons, the main two reasons being noise and ageing. Starting the guidelines at 18 is important for the following reasons:

  • 18 is the age of responsibility, so it is sensible to promote a sense of self-responsibility regarding our hearing from this age.
  • There has been much concern about the exposure of young people to damaging levels of loud sound, particularly from iPod/MP3 players, clubbing and concerts. AIHHP do not believe the correct attitude is to sit back and watch people damage their hearing then pick up the pieces later on in life. Routine hearing tests not only help to pick up any early signs of noise damage (so the correct advice can be given), but also help in informing and educating the public, in order to help people take better care of their hearing throughout life.
  • There are many old-fashioned attitudes regarding hearing and hearing loss. One of the most common is that hearing problems are a sign of ‘getting old’. It is not. There are many people of all ages who have some degree of hearing loss. It is wrong to allow this misconception to continue by confining hearing screening to an arbitrary age later on in life.
  • Another common misconception is that hearing should only be checked when a problem is noticed. This presents two problems. Firstly, hearing loss is difficult to detect without a professional assessment. Therefore ‘when a problem is noticed’ by an individual is usually much later than other people have noticed it in that individual. Secondly, if everyone is having their hearing checked universally, nobody feels ‘labelled’ or ‘marked out’ if they have their hearing checked because a problem has been noticed.
  • Finally, the prevalence of hearing loss amongst different age groups is currently based on a small sampling. If we are to better understand hearing and hearing loss, we need a more systematic approach to detecting hearing loss throughout life.

We are not making recommendations here for under 18s because paediatric audiology should be the responsibility of the NHS, at least in the first instance. However, individual AIHHP Members may be able to offer you advice on under 18s should you require it.

Where can I have my hearing checked?

Your local AIHHP Member will be able to provide you with a routine hearing check.