Invaluable information about your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health issues. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?
A Hearing Exam, What is it?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the basic evaluation involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing specialist will play these tones at various volumes and pitches to determine if 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. To see what kind of sounds impact your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.
What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?
Ultimately, a common hearing test determines whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. At this point, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss defines the level of impairment.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
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.
But hearing exams can also expose other health problems such as:
- Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by too much sugar in the blood.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges related to Meniere’s disease.
- Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.
The hearing expert will take all the information uncovered by hearing exams and use it to determine if you have:
- Age related hearing loss
- Damage from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- A different medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Unusual bone growths
- Injury from trauma
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
After you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.
A preemptive strategy to reduce the risks caused by hearing loss will be developed by the professional after examining the results of the test.
What Are The Risks of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to realize how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.
Double the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.
There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People who have difficulty following conversations will avoid having them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.
A hearing test might clarify a recent bout of fatigue, too. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to perceive sound and translate it. That robs your other senses of energy and leaves you feeling tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, specifically, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is step one for proper treatment.
A painless way to find out about your hearing and your health is an expert hearing test so schedule your appointment today.