Hearing tests give invaluable insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will you learn from a hearing evaluation?
What is a Hearing Test?
There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the standard examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing professional will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test will play 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 hearing. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a common hearing test determines whether someone has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can figure out if the loss of hearing is:
- Moderate to severe
The degree of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
What Else do Hearing Tests Measure?
Other hearing tests can measure the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear such as the eardrum, type of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear distinctly when there is background noise.
Other health problems can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:
- Diabetes. It’s believed that too much sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause extreme headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- 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 hearing specialist will take all the information revealed by hearing exams and use it to determine if you are suffering from:
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- Age related hearing loss
- Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Abnormal bone growths
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from trauma
You can try to find ways to protect your health and take care of your loss of hearing once you recognize why you have it.
The hearing specialist will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and create a preemptive strategy to lessen those risks.
What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are impacted by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.
Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.
Also, social decline is evident in those with loss of hearing. People will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.
A hearing test may explain a recent bout of exhaustion, too. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. It needs to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is loss of hearing. That robs your other senses of energy and leaves you feeling tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between depression and hearing loss, specifically, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or decrease these risks, and step one for correct treatment is a hearing test.
A professional hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?