Important insight into your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will you discover from a hearing test?
What is a Hearing Exam?
There are a variety of types of hearing tests, but the common examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing professional will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.
Another common hearing exam consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are capable of interpreting sounds correctly. To see what kind of sounds impact 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 individually.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Whether somebody has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test determines. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The level of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
But hearing exams can also expose other health issues such as:
- Paget’s disease, which can cause extreme headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels including the one that feeds the inner ear.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- 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.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the specialist to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Age related hearing loss
- A different medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Damage from trauma
- Abnormal bone growths
- Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
You can try to find ways to protect your health and take care of your hearing loss once you understand why you have it.
The hearing expert will also examine the results of the examination to determine risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive plan to minimize those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is starting to realize 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 hearing loss have an increased risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
According to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing 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.
Also, social decline is evident in those with hearing loss. People will avoid conversations if they have trouble following them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with family and friends.
A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It has to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is loss of hearing. Your left feeling tired all the time as your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, especially, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or decrease these risks, and a hearing test is the initial step for correct treatment.
An expert hearing test is a painless and safe way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?