Hearing tests offer important information about your health. Hearing tests can potentially detect other health problems because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing assessment tell you about your health.
A Hearing Test, What is it?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the basic examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.
Another typical hearing test involves listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds correctly. In some cases, this test is deliberately 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 performed on each ear individually.
What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether someone 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 identify if the hearing loss is:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?
There are also test which 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 type of hearing loss.
But hearing exams can also expose other health problems such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels including the one that feeds the inner ear.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the specialist to determine if you have the following:
- A different medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Age related hearing loss
- Unusual bone growths
- Injury caused by exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Damage from trauma
You can try to find ways to protect your health and manage your hearing loss once you recognize why you have it.
The hearing professional will also look at the results of the exam to determine risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive plan to decrease those risks.
What Are The Risks of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are affected by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.
According to this study, someone with mild hearing loss has double the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the outcome.
A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand 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 reports there is a clear correlation between depression and hearing loss, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even eliminate these risks, and step one for proper treatment is a hearing test.
A painless way to learn about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.