Hearing tests provide invaluable insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health issues. What will you discover from a hearing evaluation?
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 standard examination. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at different volumes and pitches.
Another common hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds accurately. To find out what type of sounds influence your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?
Whether a person has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test specialist can find out if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the amount of impairment.
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 type of hearing loss.
But hearing assessments can also expose other health issues 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 challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Diabetes. Injured blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by too much sugar in the blood.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the specialist to figure out if you have the following:
- A different medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Hearing loss associated with aging
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- Damage caused by exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Injury from trauma
- Unusual bone growths
Once you understand why you have hearing loss, you can try to find ways to manage it and to protect your general health.
A preemptive plan to minimize the risks caused by hearing loss will be put together by the expert after evaluating the results of the test.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.
Double the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.
There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid conversations if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more alone time can be the result.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. It has to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. Your left always feeling tired because your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, specifically, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or mitigate these risks, and a hearing test is step one for proper treatment.
A pain free way to learn about your hearing and your health is an expert hearing test so schedule your appointment today.