Important insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing test?
What is a Hearing Exam?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the common exam involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.
Another common hearing test consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are able to interpret sounds accurately. To find out what type of sounds affect your hearing, background noise is often added to this test. To be able to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a common hearing test identifies whether somebody has hearing loss and how bad it is. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test expert can determine if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of damage 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, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when background noise is present.
Other health concerns can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can sometimes be reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
The information from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to determine if you have the following:
- Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Damage from trauma
- Hearing loss related to aging
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- Another medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Abnormal bone growths
After you understand why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to manage it and to take care of your general health.
The hearing specialist will also look at the results of the exam to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive plan to lessen those risks.
What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
Double the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have trouble hearing conversations will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A hearing test might explain a recent bout of exhaustion, as well. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect sound and interpret it. Your left feeling tired all the time because your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between loss of hearing and depression, especially 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 the first step for correct treatment is a hearing test.
An expert hearing test is a pain-free and safe way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?