More Than Hearing Loss Can be Detected by a Hearing Test

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Important insight into 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 test?

What is a Hearing Exam?

There are various types of hearing tests, but the standard assessment involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these tones at different volumes and pitch levels to figure out whether you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.

So that you can make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To identify what type of sounds affect your ability to hear, background noise is often added to this test. To be able to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are performed on each ear separately.

What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?

Whether a person has hearing loss, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test identifies. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can determine if the hearing loss is:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?

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

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

  • Extreme headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
  • Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, like the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by too much sugar in the blood.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • 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..
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.

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

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

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

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

What Are The Risks of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

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

According to this study, someone with mild hearing loss 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.

There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People who have difficulty hearing discussions will avoid engaging in them. That can lead to more time alone and less time with friends and family.

A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can understand what you hear. It has to work harder to detect and translate 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 depression and loss of hearing, especially, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can get rid of or decrease these risks, and step one for proper treatment is a hearing test.

An expert hearing test is a painless 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.