Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Important information about your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health problems. What will a hearing test tell you about your health.

A Hearing Test, What is it?

Out of the various types of hearing exams, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic assessment. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing professional will play the tones at different pitches and volumes.

So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. Sometimes, this test is intentionally done with background sound to find out whether that affects your hearing. Tests are usually done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Whether someone has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?

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 distinctly when there is background noise.

But hearing tests can also reveal other health concerns such as:

  • Diabetes. It’s thought that high levels of sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels like the one that goes to the inner ear.
  • Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and other problems related to Meniere’s disease.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.

The insight from the hearing test can be used by the specialist to figure out if you suffer from the following:

  • Another medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
  • Abnormal bone growths
  • Damage from exposure to loud noises, ototoxic chemicals or medications
  • Hearing loss associated with aging
  • Injury from chronic disease or infections
  • Injury from trauma
  • Tumors

Once you understand why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to manage it and to protect your general health.

The hearing professional will also examine the results of the examination to determine risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive strategy to minimize those risks.

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

Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are affected by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk increases with more significant hearing loss.

According to this study, a person with mild hearing loss 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 those with loss of hearing. People who have difficulty following conversations will avoid having them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.

A hearing test could explain a recent bout of fatigue, also. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. It needs to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is loss of hearing. 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 hearing loss and depression, especially, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.

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

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

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