Hearing Tests Can Detect More Than Loss of Hearing
Hearing tests provide important insights into your health. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health problems because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing assessment?
A Hearing Exam, What is it?
There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the basic evaluation involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.
So that you can make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To identify what kind of sounds impact your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. Tests are commonly done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Ultimately, an ordinary hearing test determines whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. Using this test expert can determine if the hearing loss is:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the degree of impairment.
What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?
Other hearing tests can evaluate the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear like the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear distinctly when background noise is present.
But hearing assessments can also uncover other health issues like:
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- 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 sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the specialist to determine if you have the following:
- Another medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Unnatural bone growths
- Injury from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- Hearing loss related to aging
- Damage from trauma
You can look for ways to protect your health and take care of your loss of hearing once you discover why you have it.
The hearing expert will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive plan to decrease those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?
Medical science is starting to realize how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with loss of hearing have an increased risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Double 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.
There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People will stay away from conversations if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with family and friends.
A recent bout of exhaustion might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. It has to work harder to detect and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. 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 hearing loss and depression, specifically, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or mitigate these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.
An expert hearing test is a pain-free and safe way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?