Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests supply invaluable information about your health. Hearing tests can potentially uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will you learn from a hearing exam?

What is a Hearing Exam?

There are a variety of types of hearing tests, but the basic examination involves putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones. The hearing expert will play these tones at various volumes and pitch levels to determine if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.

In order to make sure you hear sounds correctly, another hearing test plays words in one ear and you will repeat them back. In some cases, this test is purposely done with background noise to find out whether that affects your ability to hear. To be able to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear separately.

What is The Significance of Hearing Test Results?

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

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

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

What Else do Hearing Tests Determine?

Other hearing tests can evaluate 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 clearly when there is background noise.

But hearing tests can also reveal other health issues like:

  • Paget’s disease, which can cause severe headaches and pain in the joints and bones.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing loss is 300% percent more likely in people with RA..
  • Otosclerosis, which if caught early can sometimes be reversed.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, and that makes it more susceptible to alterations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Diabetes. It’s thought that high levels of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels like the one that feeds the inner ear.

The hearing specialist will take all the insight uncovered by hearing tests and use it to figure out whether you have:

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

You can try to find ways to protect your health and take care of your hearing loss once you understand why you have it.

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

What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?

Medical science is starting to realize 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 people with loss of hearing have a greater risk of dementia. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

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

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

A hearing test might explain a recent bout of fatigue, too. The brain works to interpret sound, so you can comprehend what you hear. When there is loss of hearing, it will have to work harder to perceive sound and interpret it. 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, specifically, 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 first step for proper 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?