Hearing tests provide important insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health issues. What will you discover from a hearing exam?
What is a Hearing Test?
Out of the various kinds of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic exam. The hearing specialist will play these sounds at various volumes and pitches to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To see what kind of sounds influence your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Whether a person has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. At this point, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
There are also test which can measure the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.
But hearing exams can also uncover other health issues including:
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.
The information from the hearing exam can be used by the specialist to figure out if you have the following:
- Injury from trauma
- Hearing loss associated with aging
- Irregular bone growths
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- Another medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Injury from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
After you discover why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the exam to determine risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive strategy to lower those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are affected by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more significant hearing loss.
Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, based on this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.
There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the outcome.
A hearing test could clarify a recent bout of fatigue, also. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to perceive sound and translate it. That robs your other senses of energy and leaves you feeling tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or mitigate these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for correct treatment.
An expert hearing test is a painless and safe way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?