Hearing tests provide important insights into your health. Hearing tests can sometimes detect other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?
What is a Hearing Test?
There are various kinds of hearing tests, but the common exam involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these tones at various volumes and pitch levels to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. In some cases, this test is deliberately done with background sound to find out whether that affects your hearing. To be able to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear individually.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Whether a person has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. At this point, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the degree of impairment.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
Other hearing tests can measure 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 distinctly when background noise is present.
But hearing tests can also uncover other health issues including:
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other issues associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The hearing specialist will take all the insight revealed by hearing exams and use it to determine if you have:
- Unusual bone growths
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Injury caused by exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Hearing loss related to aging
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Injury from trauma
Once you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.
The hearing expert will also look at the results of the test to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and create a preemptive plan to minimize those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?
Medical science is starting to understand how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more significant the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Based on to this study, someone with mild hearing loss has twice the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
Also, social decline is apparent in people with hearing loss. People who have difficulty following conversations will avoid engaging in them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with friends and family.
A recent bout of fatigue could also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and interpret it. 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 depression and loss of hearing, specifically, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.
A professional hearing test is a painless and safe way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?