Hearing Examinations 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. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can potentially identify early signs of other health problems. What will you learn from a hearing examination?

What is a Hearing Test?

There are a variety of kinds of hearing tests, but the basic assessment involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing professional will play these tones at various volumes and pitch levels to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.

In order to make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. In some cases, this test is deliberately done with background sound to see whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are often done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Ultimately, a standard hearing test pinpoints 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. Using this test expert can determine if the loss of hearing is:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?

Other hearing tests can determine the thresholds of air and bone conduction, viability of the structures in the middle ear such as the eardrum, kind of hearing loss, and a person’s ability to hear distinctly when there is background noise.

Other health problems can also be revealed by a hearing examination like:

  • Diabetes. It’s thought that high levels of sugar in the blood can injure blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and other issues related to Meniere’s disease.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Severe headaches and pain in the joints caused by Paget’s disease.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.

The hearing expert will take all the insight revealed by hearing exams and use it to determine if you have:

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

After you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can try to find ways to deal with 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 come up with a preemptive plan to reduce those risks.

What Are The Risk Factors of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

Medical science is starting 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 people with loss of hearing have an increased risk of dementia. The risk increases with more substantial hearing loss.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, 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. Less time with friends and family and more alone time can be the outcome.

A recent bout of exhaustion may also be explained by a hearing test. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It has to work harder to detect and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. Your left feeling tired all the time because your other senses are robbed of energy.

Finally, the National Council on Aging states there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and depression, particularly, when left untreated, age related hearing loss.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can eliminate or mitigate these risks, and the initial step for correct treatment is a hearing test.

A professional 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. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.