More Than Hearing Loss Can be Discovered by a Hearing Test

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 identify early signs of other health issues. What will you discover from a hearing test?

What is a Hearing Exam?

Out of the various kinds of hearing tests, putting on headphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic examination. In order to discover the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing specialist will play the tones at different volumes and pitches.

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

What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether someone has hearing loss and the extent of it. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Measure 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, type of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear clearly when there is background noise.

But hearing exams can also uncover other health concerns such as:

  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Paget’s disease, which can cause extreme headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by too much sugar in the blood.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show 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 changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.

The hearing expert will take all the insight revealed by hearing tests and use it to determine whether you are suffering from:

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

When you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can try to find ways to manage it and to take care of your overall health.

The hearing specialist will also look at the results of the exam to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive plan to lower those risks.

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

Medical science is beginning to recognize how quality of life and health are affected by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more substantial the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

According to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing has twice the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.

Also, social decline is evident in people with loss of hearing. People who have difficulty following conversations will avoid engaging in them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.

A hearing test might explain a recent bout of fatigue, also. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain needs 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 depression and loss of hearing, 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 step one for correct treatment is a hearing test.

A professional hearing test is a pain-free and safe 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.