Are you due for your annual physical appointment? Visiting your primary care doctor on an annual basis is good practice to ensure that you receive any screenings you need, to bring your doctor up to date on any changes in your health over the last year, to discuss any needed updates to your treatment, and to prevent more serious health concerns. While you might think your annual physical is more focused on checking your heart and blood pressure, it is important to bring up your hearing as well.
Here are some important questions to ask during your annual physical appointment. By asking these simple questions, you can make certain that you receive the care you need and that your doctor is aware of any health challenges:
- How’s my hearing?
While age-related hearing loss is common, age is not the only factor that plays into your hearing health. You can protect your hearing by avoiding excessive noise, wearing ear protection when exposed to high levels of noise (like power tools, machinery, or lawn equipment), eating healthy, and keeping objects like cotton swabs out of your ears. It’s also important to schedule regular hearing evaluations to make sure that any hearing loss is treated promptly.
Your primary care doctor will be able to give you some guidance on what hearing services might be needed and can refer you to a hearing health professional if necessary.
- Am I due for any vaccines?
You might think you were done with vaccinations when you were a child; after all, receiving recommended vaccines is a big part of pediatric healthcare. However, some regular or special vaccines may be appropriate based on your age, health, and travel plans. If you need any vaccines that cannot be administered during your annual physical, the doctor’s office will be able to schedule those immunization appointments.
- How’s my mental health?
Your mental health and your physical health are inseparably connected. If you have noticed a change in mood, a lack of energy or drive, or a withdrawal from social activities, you may be experiencing an issue related to mental health, emotional health, or physical health—like hearing loss. Be open and honest with your doctor. He or she will be able to give you direction on where you can receive the care you need.
- What health problems am I at risk for?
Each person’s health risks vary. The health issues you may be at risk for depend on your age, family history, race, sex, and lifestyle. Some health risks are tied to other issues. For example, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cognitive decline, and falls have all been linked to untreated hearing loss. Your doctor can help you become aware of any health issues you are at risk for and practice prevention.
- What types of exercise should I be doing?
Staying active is important to the health of your heart, lungs, muscles, brain, and more. Many health problems, including hearing loss, are associated with decreased physical activity. Talk to your doctor about the types of exercise he or she recommends for you.
- What is this?
If you have noticed any changes in your health that you don’t understand, or if you simply aren’t sure if something is a problem (like that new spot on your skin, the ache in your elbow, or the ringing in your ears), bring it up with your doctor. Your annual physical is the perfect time to bring up anything you might have a question about. It can be helpful to write them down beforehand so you remember everything you wanted to talk about during your appointment.
Seeing your doctor regularly is a great practice for protecting your health, including your hearing health. To learn more about the importance of annual physicals and how your overall health is related to your hearing health, we invite you to contact our office today.