Invaluable information about your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing examination tell you about your health.
What is a Hearing Test?
There are various kinds of hearing tests, but the common evaluation involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing specialist will play these sounds at various volumes and pitches to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. Sometimes, this test is deliberately done with background sound to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. To be able to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?
Whether a person has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test specialist can figure out if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?
There are also test that can measure the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.
Other health problems can also be revealed by a hearing examination such as:
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges related to Meniere’s disease.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.
The insight from the hearing exam can be used by the specialist to determine if you suffer from the following:
- Age related hearing loss
- Damage caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Damage from chronic disease or infections
- Damage from trauma
- Abnormal bone growths
- A different medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
After you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to manage it and to protect your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive strategy to minimize those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is starting to understand 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 an increased risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.
Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, 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 people with loss of hearing. People who have difficulty following discussions will avoid having 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. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and translate it. Your left feeling tired all the time as your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, particularly 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 step one for correct treatment is a hearing test.
A professional hearing test is a pain-free and safe way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?