Hearing Tests Can Discover More Than Hearing Loss

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable insight into your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Hearing tests can sometimes detect other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing test tell you about your health.

A Hearing Test, What is it?

Out of the many kinds of hearing tests, putting on headphones 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 severity of the loss.

Another typical hearing exam includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds accurately. To see what type of sounds influence your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. Tests are often done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.

What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a standard hearing test identifies 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 specialists gauge hearing loss as:

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

The decibel level of the hearing loss identifies the level of damage.

What Else do Hearing Tests Evaluate?

There are also test which can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.

But hearing assessments can also expose other health problems like:

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

The insight from the hearing test can be used by the expert to determine if you have the following:

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

Once you discover why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.

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

If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?

Medical science is starting to understand how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, based on this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.

There is evidence of social decline with hearing loss, as well. People who have trouble hearing discussions will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more alone time can be the outcome.

A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of exhaustion, too. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can understand what you hear. It has to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. That robs your other senses of energy and leaves you feeling tired all the time.

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

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

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

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.