Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Hearing tests give important information about your health. Hearing tests can sometimes uncover other health concerns because the ears are so sensitive. What will a hearing examination tell you about your health.

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

There are various kinds of hearing tests, but the basic examination involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. In order to detect the depth of your hearing loss, the hearing expert will play the tones at various pitches and volumes.

Another common hearing test includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you are able to interpret sounds accurately. At times, this test is purposely done with background noise to see whether that affects your ability to hear. Tests are usually done in each ear separately 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 determines. Normal hearing in adults with minor hearing loss is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing experts gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

What Else do Hearing Tests Measure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A preemptive strategy to lower the risks caused by loss of hearing will be formulated by the specialist after looking at the results of the test.

What Are The Risk Factors of Ignoring Hearing Loss?

Medical science is beginning to understand how hearing loss affects a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins examined 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more substantial the hearing loss, the higher the risk.

According to this study, a person 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 hearing loss.

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

A recent bout of fatigue could 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 translate it. Your left feeling tired all the time as your other senses are robbed of energy.

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 mitigate or even get rid of these risks, and step one for correct treatment is a hearing test.

A professional 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?