Hearing Examinations Can Discover More Than Loss of Hearing

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests provide invaluable information about your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially detect early signs of other health problems. What will you discover from a hearing examination?

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

Out of the various kinds of hearing tests, putting on headphones and listening to a series of sounds is the standard exam. The hearing expert will play these sounds at various volumes and pitches to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.

So that you can make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To see what kind of sounds influence your hearing, background noise is sometimes added to this test. To be able to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.

What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether a person 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:

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

The level of damage is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.

Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?

Other hearing tests can measure the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear such as the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear distinctly when there is background noise.

Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Extreme headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Diabetes. It’s thought that too much sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels including the one that goes to the inner ear.

The hearing expert will take all the information uncovered by hearing exams and use it to determine if you are suffering from:

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

You can try to find ways to safeguard your health and take care of your hearing loss once you recognize why you have it.

The hearing professional will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your loss of hearing and come up with a preemptive plan to minimize those risks.

What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.

According to this study, a person 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 discussions if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.

A recent bout of exhaustion could also be explained by a hearing test. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It needs to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is hearing loss. Your left feeling tired all the time because 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, specifically, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or mitigate these risks, and step one for proper 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.

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