Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable insight into your state of health is offered by a hearing test. 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.

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

There are different kinds of hearing tests, but the standard exam involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these sounds at various volumes and pitches to determine if 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 plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. To find out what type of sounds impact your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. Tests are usually done in each ear individually to get a proper measurement for each side.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Whether someone has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the normal hearing test identifies. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test specialist can identify if the hearing loss is:

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

The decibel level of the hearing loss defines the level of impairment.

What Else do Hearing Tests Determine?

There are also test which can determine the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.

Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing exam like:

  • Dizziness, vertigo, and other problems associated with Meniere’s disease.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Diabetes. It’s believed that high levels of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels like the one that goes to the inner ear.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if diagnosed early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.

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

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

When you recognize why you have loss of hearing, you can look for ways to deal with it and to protect your general health.

A preemptive plan 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 Neglecting Hearing Loss?

Medical science is beginning to comprehend how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that a greater risk of dementia comes with loss of hearing. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

Double the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, according to this study. Three times the risk comes with moderate loss of hearing and five times the risk with severe hearing loss.

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

A hearing test may explain a recent bout of fatigue, as well. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. It needs to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is hearing loss. 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 hearing loss and depression, particularly, when left untreated, age related loss of hearing.

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

An expert 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?