Hearing tests give invaluable information about your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing test tell you about your health.
What is a Hearing Exam?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the standard assessment involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing expert will play these sounds at various volumes and pitch levels to figure out whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. Sometimes, this test is purposely done with background noise to see 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?
Ultimately, a common hearing test determines whether someone 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 professionals gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss defines the amount of impairment.
What Else do Hearing Tests Measure?
There are also test which can determine the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how well someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.
Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing exam such as:
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The insight from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Irregular bone growths
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- Injury from trauma
- Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Age related hearing loss
When you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.
A preemptive strategy to minimize the risks caused by hearing loss will be formulated by the expert after looking at the results of the test.
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 examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with loss of hearing have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.
Based on to this study, somebody with mild hearing loss has twice the risk of dementia. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment raises the risk by five.
Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People who have trouble following discussions will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to perceive 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, especially, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or mitigate these risks, and a hearing test is the initial step for correct treatment.
A pain free way to learn about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.