Hearing Health Blog

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Important insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can sometimes uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing assessment tell you about your health.

A Hearing Test, What is it?

Out of the various kinds of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones is the basic evaluation. The hearing professional will play these tones at various volumes and pitches to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.

In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To see what type of sounds influence your hearing, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.

What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?

Whether somebody has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?

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

Other health problems can also be revealed by a hearing exam such as:

  • Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by too much sugar in the blood.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and other challenges related to Meniere’s disease.
  • Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can sometimes be reversed.

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

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

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

The hearing specialist 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.

What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

Medical science is beginning to comprehend how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. 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 substantial hearing loss.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, based on this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment raises the risk by five.

There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will stay away from conversations if they have difficulty following them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with family and friends.

A hearing test might explain a recent bout of exhaustion, as well. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect sound and interpret it. 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 hearing loss and depression, particularly age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

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

An expert hearing test is a painless and comfortable way to find out 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. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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