Hearing tests offer important information about your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health issues. What will you learn from a hearing exam?
What is a Hearing Exam?
There are a variety of types of hearing tests, but the common evaluation involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing professional will play these tones at various volumes and pitch levels to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. In some cases, this test is intentionally done with background sound to see whether that affects your ability to hear. To be able to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test pinpoints whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can figure out if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The degree of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?
Other hearing tests can determine the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear like the eardrum, type of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear distinctly when there is background noise.
But hearing assessments can also uncover other health issues like:
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
The insight from the hearing exam can be used by the specialist to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Hearing loss associated with aging
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Damage from trauma
- Irregular bone growths
- Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
You can look for ways to safeguard your health and manage your loss of hearing once you discover why you have it.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the test to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive plan to reduce those risks.
What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is starting to understand how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with loss of hearing have an increased risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.
According to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing has double the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.
Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People will avoid conversations if they have trouble following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with family and friends.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to perceive 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 hearing loss, particularly age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and the first step for correct treatment is a hearing test.
An expert hearing test is a painless and comfortable way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?