Hearing Examinations Can Detect More Than Hearing Loss

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests give invaluable insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.

What is a Hearing Test?

There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the ordinary examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing professional will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.

Another typical hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are able to interpret sounds accurately. At times, this test is deliberately done with background sound to see whether that affects your ability to hear. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.

What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a typical hearing test identifies whether somebody has hearing loss and how bad it is. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:

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

The amount of impairment is based on the decibel level of the hearing loss.

Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?

There are also test that can determine 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 type of hearing loss.

But hearing tests can also expose other health concerns including:

  • Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
  • Meniere’s disease and other issues with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by high levels of sugar in the blood.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA.

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

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

You can look for ways to protect your health and manage your hearing loss once you discover why you have it.

A preemptive plan to minimize the risks caused by hearing loss will be developed by the expert after examining the results of the test.

What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

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 an increased risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.

According to this study, somebody with mild hearing loss has twice the risk of dementia. 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 loss of hearing, as well. People will avoid discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more alone time can be the result.

A hearing test may clarify a recent bout of fatigue, as well. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. When there is hearing loss, it will have to work harder to detect sound and translate it. 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 depression and hearing loss, specifically 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 the first step for proper treatment is a hearing test.

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

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.