More Than Hearing Loss Can be Detected by a Hearing Test
Hearing tests offer important insights into your health. Hearing tests can sometimes uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will you discover from a hearing examination?
What is a Hearing Test?
There are various kinds of hearing tests, but the common assessment involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing professional will play these sounds at different volumes and pitches to determine if you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. At times, this test is purposely done with background noise to find out whether that affects your hearing. To be able to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Whether somebody has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can find out if the hearing loss is:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss defines the degree of damage.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
Other hearing tests can determine the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear like the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when there is background noise.
But hearing exams can also reveal other health issues such as:
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other issues associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by too much sugar in the blood.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The hearing specialist will take all the insight uncovered by hearing exams and use it to figure out if you have:
- Age related hearing loss
- Injury from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Abnormal bone growths
- Damage from trauma
- Another medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
When you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to manage it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing expert will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive plan to decrease those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?
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 people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.
Based on to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing has 2 times 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 loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid conversations if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.
A recent bout of exhaustion may also be explained by a hearing test. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain needs to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and interpret 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, particularly, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can minimize or even get rid of these risks, and the first step for correct treatment is a hearing test.
A professional hearing test is a pain-free and safe way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?