Hearing tests give important insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.
A Hearing Test, What is it?
Out of the many types of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones is the standard examination. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.
Another typical hearing exam consists of listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were capable of interpreting sounds correctly. To identify what type of sounds affect your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Whether a person has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test identifies. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the level of impairment.
Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?
Other hearing tests can measure 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.
Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:
- Diabetes. Injured blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by too much sugar in the blood.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other problems related to Meniere’s disease.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the expert to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Another medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Damage from trauma
- Damage caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Age related hearing loss
- Unnatural bone growths
Once you discover why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the exam to determine risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and create a preemptive strategy to decrease those risks.
What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is starting to recognize 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 a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more significant the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
According to this study, a person with mild hearing loss has double the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People who have difficulty following conversations will avoid engaging in them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with family and friends.
A recent bout of fatigue 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 detect sound and interpret it. Your left always feeling tired as your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, especially age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or minimize these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.
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?