Hearing Exams Can Detect More Than Loss of Hearing

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests supply important insights into your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health problems. What will you discover from a hearing evaluation?

What is a Hearing Exam?

Out of the many varieties of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds is the basic exam. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.

So that you can make sure you hear sounds accurately, another hearing test will play words in one ear and you will repeat them back. Sometimes, this test is intentionally 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 Indicate?

Ultimately, a standard hearing test determines whether someone has hearing loss and how bad it is. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. Using this test specialist can find out if the hearing loss is:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?

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

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

  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • And, Otosclerosis, which if caught early enough, has the possibility of being reversed.
  • Diabetes. Damaged blood vessels, such as the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by too much sugar in the blood.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.

The hearing expert will take all the insight uncovered by hearing tests and use it to figure out whether you are suffering from:

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

When you discover why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to manage it and to protect your overall health.

The hearing expert will also look at the results of the test to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive strategy to decrease those risks.

If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risk Factors?

Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by hearing loss. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, 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 will stay away from discussions 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 might also be explained by a hearing test. The brain works to translate sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to detect sound and interpret it. 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 loss of hearing and depression, especially age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

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

A professional hearing test is a painless and comfortable way to determine 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.