Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests give invaluable insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially detect early signs of other health problems. What will you learn from a hearing test?

What is a Hearing Test?

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

In order to make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. In some cases, this test is intentionally done with background sound to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are often done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Ultimately, a typical hearing test pinpoints whether a person has hearing loss and how bad it is. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. At this point, hearing specialists gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?

Other hearing tests can determine the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear like the eardrum, type of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when background noise is present.

But hearing exams can also expose other health issues such as:

  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Diabetes. Injured blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by high levels of sugar in the blood.

The hearing specialist will take all the insight uncovered by hearing tests and use it to determine whether you have:

  • Age related hearing loss
  • Tumors
  • Damage from trauma
  • A different medical problem like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
  • Injury from chronic disease or infections
  • Injury caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
  • Unusual bone growths

Once you discover why you have hearing loss, you can try to find 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 strategy to lower those risks.

If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?

Medical science is starting to understand how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with loss of hearing have an increased risk of dementia. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.

Based on to this study, somebody with mild hearing loss has 2 times the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.

There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid conversations if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the result.

A hearing test may explain a recent bout of exhaustion, too. In order to understand what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It needs to work harder to perceive and translate sound when there is hearing loss. Your left always feeling tired as your other senses are robbed of energy.

Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between depression and loss of hearing, especially age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can decrease or even get rid of these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for proper treatment.

An expert hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable way to determine a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?

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