Hearing Tests Can Uncover More Than Loss of Hearing

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable insight into your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health issues. What will you learn from a hearing assessment?

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the ordinary evaluation involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing specialist 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.

Another common hearing test consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you were capable of interpreting sounds accurately. To see what type of sounds influence your hearing, background noise is sometimes added to this test. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.

What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a standard hearing test identifies whether somebody has hearing loss and the extent of it. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:

  • Mild
  • Profound
  • Moderate
  • Moderate to severe
  • Severe

The level of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.

What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?

Other hearing tests can determine the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear such as the eardrum, type of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when there is background noise.

Other health problems can also be revealed by a hearing examination such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
  • Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.

The hearing expert will take all the insight uncovered by hearing exams and use it to figure out whether you have:

  • Injury from trauma
  • Tumors
  • Hearing loss related to aging
  • Injury from chronic infections or disease
  • Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
  • Another medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
  • Irregular bone growths

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 test to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive plan to reduce 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 those with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.

According to this study, somebody with mild loss of hearing 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 those with loss of hearing. People will avoid discussions if they have trouble following them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the result.

A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of exhaustion, also. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect 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 reports there is a clear correlation between loss of hearing and depression, particularly, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can minimize or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.

A pain free way to learn about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.

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