Invaluable information about your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially detect other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.
A Hearing Test, What is it?
There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the basic examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at various volumes and pitches.
Another typical hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are capable of interpreting sounds correctly. At times, this test is deliberately done with background noise to see whether that affects your hearing. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.
What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?
Whether somebody has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing specialists gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The level of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
Other hearing tests can measure 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 exams can also reveal other health concerns including:
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
- Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels including the one that feeds the inner ear.
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
The information from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to determine if you suffer from the following:
- Irregular bone growths
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Damage from trauma
- Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Age related hearing loss
- Another medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
Once you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to manage it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing expert will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and create a preemptive strategy to reduce those risks.
What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are affected by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, based on this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.
There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with family and friends.
A recent bout of exhaustion could also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. It has to work harder to perceive and translate sound when there is hearing loss. 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 age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can minimize or even eliminate these risks, and a hearing test is the initial step for correct 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?