Hearing tests supply invaluable insights into your health. Hearing tests can sometimes detect other health problems because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing evaluation?
A Hearing Test, What is it?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the ordinary assessment involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these sounds at various volumes and pitches to figure out whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
Another typical hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are capable of interpreting sounds correctly. To find out what type of sounds influence your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear individually.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Whether somebody has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. At this point, hearing specialists gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The level of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
There are also test that can determine the viability of structures of the middle ear like 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 like:
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels including the one that feeds the inner ear.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
The hearing specialist will take all the information revealed by hearing exams and use it to figure out if you have:
- Unnatural bone growths
- Injury from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Age related hearing loss
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- Injury from trauma
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
Once you discover why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to protect your general health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the test to determine risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive strategy 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 an increased risk of dementia. The more substantial the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
According to this study, somebody with mild hearing loss has twice the risk of dementia. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment raises the risk by five.
Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People who have trouble hearing conversations will avoid having them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.
A hearing test might explain a recent bout of fatigue, too. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and translate it. That robs your other senses of energy and makes you feel tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, specifically, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.
An expert hearing test is a pain-free and safe way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?