With the abundance of information that’s available at our fingertips today, it’s tempting to rely on our own resources. It’s also easy to fall for common misconceptions that circulate even in so-called educated circles, especially when it comes to our health and wellness. Hearing health professionals hear some of these misconceptions on a regular basis, especially when it relates to hearing tests. Here is the truth behind five common hearing test misconceptions. Did you believe any of these?

Hearing tests are only for the very young and very old

It’s true that children are screened from birth through the teenage years to detect hearing issues that could influence development and learning, and that the elderly are more likely to experience age-related hearing loss that requires testing and treatment. However, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), nearly eight million people ages 18-44 also experience hearing loss and are either not aware of it or in denial.

I don’t need to have my hearing screened regularly

ASHA recommends that adults with healthy hearing still have theirs screened at least once a decade (if not part of a routine yearly physical), and every three years after the age of 50.

Hearing screenings and hearing evaluations are the same

A hearing screening is the first step that indicates whether you may have hearing loss and need more extensive testing. Screenings are basic, simple and often free, while evaluations are conducted in a hearing clinic, administered by a hearing healthcare professional, and involve several types of tests.

Online hearing tests are the same as tests administered by a hearing health care professional

While it’s tempting to have your hearing screened using an online test, at a health fair or even at a local pharmacy, these tests aren’t always reliable. If you suspect a hearing loss, you should have testing performed by a hearing care provider, especially if you’ve been dealing with the condition for an extended amount of time.

Hearing tests won’t reveal any new information

The answer to this comes in the form of a question: “How do you know?” As we lose the ability to hear certain frequencies or decibel ranges, our minds adapt and compensate, so you may not even realize your hearing has changed until a preliminary screening and follow-up evaluation.

Don’t let these or other misconceptions keep you from getting regular hearing tests if you truly need them. Hearing is an important sense that relates to so many areas of life, so decide to know the truth about it and pursue your optimum hearing health.