Hearing tests give invaluable insights into your health. Hearing tests can sometimes uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing assessment tell you about your health.
A Hearing Test, What is it?
There are various types of hearing tests, but the basic assessment involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these tones at different volumes and pitch levels to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.
In order to make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. At times, this test is intentionally done with background noise to find out whether that affects your hearing. Tests are commonly done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?
Ultimately, a typical hearing test determines whether a person has hearing loss and the extent of it. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the degree of damage.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
There are also test that can determine the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.
Other health concerns can also be revealed by a hearing test such as:
- Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Paget’s disease, which can cause extreme headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
- Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by high levels of sugar in the blood.
The insight from the hearing test can be used by the expert to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Hearing loss related to aging
- Injury from trauma
- Unnatural bone growths
- Injury from chronic disease or infections
- A different medical issue causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Injury caused by exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
You can look for ways to safeguard your health and take care of your hearing loss once you recognize why you have it.
A preemptive plan to lower the risks caused by loss of hearing will be put together by the professional after evaluating the results of the test.
What Are The Risks of Ignoring Hearing Loss?
Medical science is starting to understand how hearing loss affects 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 hearing loss have an increased risk of dementia. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
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 will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the outcome.
A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. It needs to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is loss of hearing. That robs your other senses of energy and makes you feel tired all the time.
Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, particularly, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can decrease or even eliminate these risks, and the first step for proper treatment is a hearing test.
An expert hearing test is a painless and safe way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?