Invaluable insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?
What is a Hearing Exam?
Out of the many types of hearing exams, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic examination. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at various volumes and pitches.
In order to make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To find out what type of sounds affect your hearing, background noise is sometimes added to this test. Tests are commonly done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Whether a person has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test identifies. Adults with 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 defines the degree of impairment.
Do Hearing Tests Determine 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 kind of hearing loss.
But hearing assessments can also expose other health concerns such as:
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by too much sugar in the blood.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
The hearing expert will take all the insight uncovered by hearing tests and use it to determine if you are suffering from:
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Damage from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from trauma
- Unusual bone growths
- Age related hearing loss
Once you discover why you have hearing loss, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive strategy to decrease those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?
Medical science is starting to comprehend how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.
Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.
Also, social decline is apparent in those with loss of hearing. People will avoid conversations if they have trouble following them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with friends and family.
A recent bout of exhaustion may also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. It has to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is hearing loss. 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 depression and hearing loss, especially, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or decrease these risks, and a hearing test is the initial step for correct treatment.
A professional hearing test is a painless and safe way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?