Important insight into your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing exam?
A Hearing Test, What is it?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the standard assessment involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these sounds at various volumes and pitch levels to determine if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
Another common hearing test consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are able to interpret sounds accurately. Sometimes, this test is deliberately done with background sound to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are often done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Whether someone has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- 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 measure the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health concerns can also be revealed by a hearing test such as:
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
- Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
The hearing specialist will take all the information revealed by hearing tests and use it to figure out if you are suffering from:
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- Unnatural bone growths
- Age related hearing loss
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Injury from trauma
- Damage caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
You can look for ways to safeguard your health and manage your loss of hearing once you discover why you have it.
A preemptive strategy to reduce the risks caused by hearing loss will be put together by the specialist after looking at the results of the test.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?
Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are affected by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have an increased risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, based on this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
Also, social decline is apparent in people with loss of hearing. People will stay away from discussions if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with family and friends.
A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of exhaustion, as well. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can understand what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect sound and interpret 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 loss of hearing and depression, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
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 pain free way to find out about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.