Hearing tests supply important information about your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will you learn from a hearing assessment?
What is a Hearing Exam?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the common evaluation involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of sounds. We will play these sounds at different volumes and pitches to determine if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
Another common hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are able to interpret sounds correctly. Sometimes, this test is intentionally done with background noise to see whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are usually done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test we can determine if the loss of hearing is:
- 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 determine the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing test such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels including the one that feeds the inner ear.
The information from the hearing test can be used to determine if you suffer from the following:
- Age related hearing loss
- Damage from trauma
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Injury from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Abnormal bone growths
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
After you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.
A preemptive strategy to lower the risks caused by hearing loss will be formulated by the professional after looking at the results of the test.
What Are The Risk Factors of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to understand how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.
Two times 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 stay away from discussions if they have trouble following them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of exhaustion, as well. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It needs to work harder to perceive and interpret 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 loss of hearing and depression, specifically, 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 hearing test is a painless and safe way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?