Important insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.
What is a Hearing Exam?
Out of the many varieties of hearing exams, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic exam. The hearing professional will play these sounds at various volumes and pitch levels to figure out whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To see what type of sounds impact your ability to hear, background noise is often 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 standard hearing test determines whether someone has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. At this point, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Determine?
There are also test that can measure the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how clearly someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
But hearing examinations can also uncover other health problems including:
- Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels like the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
The hearing specialist will take all the information uncovered by hearing exams and use it to figure out whether you have:
- Hearing loss related to aging
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Another medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Injury from trauma
- Injury from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Unusual bone growths
When you understand why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your general health.
A preemptive plan to decrease the risks caused by loss of hearing will be put together by the specialist after evaluating the results of the test.
What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to realize 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 people with loss of hearing have an increased risk of dementia. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have difficulty hearing conversations will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A recent bout of fatigue could also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect sound and translate it. That robs your other senses of energy and leaves you feeling tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between loss of hearing and depression, specifically, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or minimize these risks, and the first step for proper treatment is a hearing test.
A professional hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?