Hearing Exams Can Discover More Than Hearing Loss
Important insight into 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 problems. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.
A Hearing Test, What is it?
Out of the various types of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones is the basic evaluation. The hearing professional will play these tones at different volumes and pitches to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.
Another common hearing exam includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you were able to interpret sounds correctly. At times, this test is intentionally done with background sound to see whether that affects your hearing. Tests are usually done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.
What do Hearing Test Results Mean?
Ultimately, an ordinary hearing test pinpoints whether somebody has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:
- Moderate to severe
The amount of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.
Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?
There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.
Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:
- Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
- Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.
- Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
- Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to changes 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.
- Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges associated with Meniere’s disease.
The information from the hearing exam can be used by the expert to figure out if you suffer from the following:
- Damage from chronic infections or disease
- Damage from trauma
- Abnormal bone growths
- A different medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
- Damage from exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
- Hearing loss associated with aging
After you discover why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.
The hearing specialist will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive plan to reduce those risks.
If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?
Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.
Based on to this study, somebody with mild loss of hearing has twice 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 avoid discussions if they have trouble following them. Less time with family and friends and more alone time can be the outcome.
A hearing test may explain a recent bout of exhaustion, as well. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to pick up on sound and interpret it. 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 depression and loss of hearing, especially, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or decrease these risks, and the first step for correct treatment is a hearing test.
A painless way to learn about your hearing and your health is an expert hearing test so schedule your appointment today.