Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health issues because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing exam tell you about your health.

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

Out of the many varieties of hearing exams, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the standard evaluation. The hearing specialist will play these tones at different volumes and pitch levels to figure out whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.

Another common hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you were able to interpret sounds correctly. Sometimes, this test is deliberately done with background noise to find out whether that affects your hearing. In order to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Ultimately, an ordinary hearing test pinpoints whether somebody has hearing loss and the extent of it. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing specialists gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

What Else do Hearing Tests Measure?

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 distinctly when background noise is present.

But hearing exams can also uncover other health issues such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Heart and circulation problems. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more sensitive to changes in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Diabetes. Impaired blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be injured by high levels of sugar in the blood.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Otosclerosis, which if caught early can possibly be reversed.

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

  • Abnormal bone growths
  • A different medical issue like high blood pressure causing hearing loss
  • Damage caused by exposure to ototoxic chemicals or medications, loud noises
  • Tumors
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Damage from trauma
  • Damage 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.

The hearing professional will also look at the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and create a preemptive strategy to lessen those risks.

If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?

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

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, according to 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 hearing loss, as well. People who have trouble following conversations will avoid engaging in them. Less time with family and friends and more time alone can be the result.

A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. 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 hearing loss and depression, specifically age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

Treating hearing loss, with hearing aids or other hearing technology, can mitigate or even eliminate these risks, and step one 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?