Important information about your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health problems. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.
What is a Hearing Exam?
Out of the various types of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic examination. The hearing specialist will play these tones at various volumes and pitch levels to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
Another common hearing exam consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are capable of interpreting sounds correctly. At times, this test is purposely done with background sound to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are often done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Whether someone has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can identify if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The level of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
But hearing assessments can also uncover other health issues such as:
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
The information from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to determine if you suffer from the following:
- Irregular bone growths
- Injury from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Age related hearing loss
- Damage from trauma
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
After you discover why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to manage it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the test to determine risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive strategy to decrease those risks.
What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is starting to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People will stay away from discussions if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with family and friends.
A hearing test might explain a recent bout of fatigue, as well. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to detect sound and translate it. Your left always feeling tired because your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, particularly, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or minimize these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for correct treatment.
An expert hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?