Hearing tests offer important insights into your health. Hearing tests can sometimes 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 types of hearing tests, but the ordinary exam involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these tones at different volumes and pitches to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
Another typical hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds correctly. To see what kind of sounds influence your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. Tests are usually done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a common hearing test identifies whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing specialists 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 Determine?
There are also test which can measure the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health concerns can also be revealed by a hearing exam such as:
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other problems associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause extreme headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
The hearing specialist will take all the information uncovered by hearing tests and use it to figure out if you have:
- Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- Damage from trauma
- A different medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Irregular bone growths
- Hearing loss associated with aging
When you understand why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.
The hearing professional will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive strategy to lower those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is starting to recognize how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
Based on to this study, somebody with mild loss of hearing has double the risk of dementia. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have difficulty hearing discussions will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more alone time can be the result.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and translate it. 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 hearing loss and depression, especially, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or minimize these risks, and step one for proper treatment is a hearing test.
A painless way to find out about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.