Hearing Tests Can Uncover More Than Loss of Hearing

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests give important insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health problems. What will you discover from a hearing assessment?

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

There are various kinds of hearing tests, but the common assessment involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.

In order to make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To find out what kind of sounds affect your hearing, background noise is often added to this test. Tests are often done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Ultimately, a common hearing test determines 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
  • Severe
  • Mild
  • Moderate to severe
  • Moderate

The degree of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.

What Else do Hearing Tests Measure?

There are also test that can measure 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 kind of hearing loss.

But hearing examinations can also uncover other health issues like:

  • Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.
  • Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.

The hearing expert will take all the insight revealed by hearing tests and use it to figure out whether you have:

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

When you discover why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your overall health.

A preemptive plan to decrease the risks caused by loss of hearing will be formulated by the specialist after looking at the results of the test.

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

Medical science is starting to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. 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 hearing loss, as well. People will stay away from conversations if they have difficulty following them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the outcome.

A hearing test may explain a recent bout of fatigue, as well. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend 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 depression and hearing loss, particularly age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

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

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