Invaluable insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing assessment tell you about your health.
A Hearing Exam, What is it?
There are different types of hearing tests, but the ordinary examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing specialist will play these tones at different volumes and pitches to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
Another common hearing test involves listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are capable of interpreting sounds accurately. To find out what type of sounds impact your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear individually.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test pinpoints whether somebody has hearing loss and how bad it is. 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 amount of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Determine?
There are also test that can measure the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing examination like:
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges related to Meniere’s disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The hearing specialist will take all the insight revealed by hearing tests and use it to determine whether you have:
- A different medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- Age related hearing loss
- Irregular bone growths
- Damage from trauma
- Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
Once you understand why you have hearing loss, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to protect your general health.
The hearing specialist will also look at the results of the exam to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive plan to lower those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is beginning 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 people with hearing loss have an increased risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more significant hearing loss.
Twice 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 hearing loss.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have trouble following conversations will avoid having them. Less time with friends and family and more alone time can be the result.
A hearing test could clarify a recent bout of fatigue, as well. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can understand what you hear. When there is hearing loss, 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 reports there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, especially, 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 a hearing test is the initial step for correct treatment.
An expert hearing test is a painless and safe way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?