Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable information about your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?

A Hearing Test, What is it?

Out of the various varieties of hearing tests, putting on headphones and listening to a series of sounds is the standard examination. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.

Another typical hearing exam involves listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are capable of interpreting sounds accurately. At times, this test is deliberately done with background noise to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are usually done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Whether a person has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test determines. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test expert can find out if the loss of hearing is:

  • Mild
  • Profound
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Moderate to severe

The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the level of impairment.

Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?

There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how well someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.

But hearing exams can also uncover other health concerns such as:

  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by too much sugar in the blood.

The information from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to determine if you have the following:

  • Hearing loss related to aging
  • Another medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
  • Unusual bone growths
  • Damage from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
  • Injury from chronic infections or disease
  • Damage from trauma
  • Tumors

Once you understand why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to deal with it and to protect your general health.

A preemptive plan to reduce the risks caused by hearing loss will be developed by the specialist after examining the results of the test.

What Are The Risks of Ignoring Hearing Loss?

Medical science is starting to understand 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 those with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.

Twice the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment raises the risk by five.

There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People who have difficulty hearing discussions will avoid engaging in them. That can lead to more alone time and less time with friends and family.

A recent bout of exhaustion could 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 interpret sound when there is hearing loss. That robs your other senses of energy and makes you feel tired all the time.

Finally, the National Council on Aging reports 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 mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and the initial step for correct treatment is a hearing test.

A pain free way to find out about your hearing and your health is a professional hearing test so schedule your appointment today.

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