Invaluable information about your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health issues. What will you learn from a hearing assessment?
What is a Hearing Exam?
Out of the many kinds of hearing tests, putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones is the basic assessment. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.
In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. Sometimes, this test is purposely done with background noise to find out whether that affects your hearing. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether someone has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. At this point, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the degree of damage.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
Other hearing tests can determine 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 clearly when there is background noise.
But hearing assessments can also expose other health problems like:
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels like the one that goes to the inner ear.
The hearing specialist will take all the insight uncovered by hearing tests and use it to figure out whether you are suffering from:
- Damage from trauma
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Abnormal bone growths
- Hearing loss associated with aging
- Injury from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
After you understand why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to manage it and to take care of your general health.
A preemptive strategy to reduce the risks caused by hearing loss will be formulated by the professional after evaluating the results of the test.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is starting to recognize how quality of life and health are affected by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more substantial the hearing loss, the greater the risk.
According to this study, somebody with mild loss of hearing has 2 times the risk of dementia. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.
Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People who have trouble hearing conversations will avoid having them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A recent bout of exhaustion may also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It needs to work harder to perceive and translate sound when there is hearing loss. Your left always feeling tired because your other senses are robbed of energy.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.
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 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?