Hearing— according to experts, even by age 20 many people begin to lose their ability to hear high-frequency tones. With increasing age, that loss of sensitivity to high-frequency sounds, may become significantly impaired. However, most people are not seriously affected until they reach their 60s, when they may begin to find speech difficult to follow. This condition is more common in men than it is in women, and studies have revealed that, in general, women are less likely than men to go deaf.
Studies have also shown that a high-fat diet can clog the blood vessels which provide nourishment to delicate hearing organs, and years of exposure to high levels of noise can cause cumulative damage to our hearing. With that in mind, it’s a good idea for people in their 40s or older to have a hearing test to find out how their hearing may have been affected over the years. You can receive such a test, free, simply by dialing 1-800-222-EARS (3277). The toll- free number puts you in contact with a national project, which has already provided screening for more than 5.6 million Americans. (The service is also now provided for Canada at 215-5443-7000).
You will need to furnish a project operator with some basic general information such as where you live. The operator will then give you a local phone number to call for your hearing test. There’s usually no toll charge involved with the number because you will generally be calling a location within a 50-mile radius of where you live. Once you call the local number, you’ll be given recorded instructions during the test which takes two minutes. The actual test includes 8 signals or tones— 4 for each ear. If you have trouble hearing all 8 tones, you should then consider having your hearing tested by a specialist. The operators can also provide you with referrals if you wish.