Hearing tests provide invaluable information about your health. Hearing tests can sometimes detect other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing exam?
What is a Hearing Test?
There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the standard exam involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing specialist will play these sounds at different 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 plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. At times, this test is purposely done with background noise to find out whether that affects your hearing. Tests are commonly done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Whether someone has loss of hearing, 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. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
Other hearing tests can evaluate the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear such as the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when background noise is present.
But hearing tests can also expose other health issues like:
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
The hearing specialist will take all the information uncovered by hearing exams and use it to figure out if you have:
- Another medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Injury from trauma
- Abnormal bone growths
- Age related hearing loss
- Damage caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
You can try to find ways to protect your health and take care of your loss of hearing once you recognize why you have it.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive strategy to lessen those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is starting to recognize how quality of life and health are affected by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.
Two times 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 raises the risk by five.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have difficulty hearing conversations will avoid engaging in them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the result.
A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of exhaustion, too. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain has to do work. It has to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is loss of hearing. That robs your other senses of energy and makes you feel tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states 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 decrease or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for correct treatment.
A pain free way to find out about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.