Hearing Tests Can Detect More Than Loss of Hearing

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable information about your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can sometimes detect other health problems because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing evaluation?

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

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

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

What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, an ordinary hearing test determines 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 specialists gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?

There are also test which can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.

But hearing examinations can also uncover other health concerns like:

  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be harmed by high levels of sugar in the blood.
  • Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
  • Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early can possibly be reversed.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..

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

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

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

A preemptive strategy to decrease the risks caused by hearing loss will be developed by the professional after evaluating the results of the test.

What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?

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

According to this study, a person with mild loss of hearing has 2 times the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.

Also, social decline is apparent in those with hearing loss. People will stay away from discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with family and friends and more alone time can be the result.

A hearing test may explain a recent bout of exhaustion, too. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. It needs to work harder to perceive and translate sound when there is loss of hearing. 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 loss of hearing, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

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 professional hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable 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. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.