Hearing Examinations Can Detect More Than Hearing Loss
Invaluable insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health issues. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?
What is a Hearing Test?
There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the common 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 determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
Another common hearing test involves listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds correctly. In some cases, this test is intentionally done with background sound to see whether that affects your ability to hear. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Ultimately, a standard hearing test identifies whether somebody has hearing loss and the extent of it. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The level of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
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 like the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when there is background noise.
But hearing examinations can also uncover other health concerns including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
- Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
- And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
- Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by high levels of sugar in the blood.
- Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
- Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The information from the hearing test can be used by the expert to figure out if you have the following:
- Injury from trauma
- Damage from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Age related hearing loss
- Injury from chronic infections or disease
- A different medical problem causing the hearing loss like high blood pressure
- Unusual bone growths
You can try to find ways to protect your health and take care of your hearing loss once you recognize why you have it.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the test to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive strategy to lower those risks.
What Are The Risk Factors of Neglecting Hearing Loss?
Medical science is beginning to understand 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 a greater risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more significant the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Based on to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing has double the risk of dementia. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment raises the risk by five.
Also, social decline is apparent in people with hearing loss. People will stay away from discussions if they have trouble following them. Less time with family and friends and more alone time can be the outcome.
A recent bout of exhaustion may also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can understand what you hear. It has to work harder to perceive and interpret 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, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even eliminate these risks, and the first step for proper treatment is a hearing test.
An expert hearing test is a painless and comfortable way to learn a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?