Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Invaluable information about your state of health is offered by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes detect early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing test tell you about your health.

A Hearing Exam, What is it?

Out of the many kinds of hearing tests, putting on headphones and listening to a series of tones is the basic exam. The hearing specialist will play these tones at different volumes and pitches to figure out 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 see what type of sounds affect your ability to hear, background noise is sometimes added to this test. Tests are usually done in each ear separately to get a proper measurement for each side.

What is The Meaning of Hearing Test Results?

Ultimately, a common hearing test identifies whether somebody has hearing loss and the extent of it. Adults with minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test expert can find out if the hearing loss is:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Measure Anything Else?

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

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

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

The hearing specialist will take all the insight uncovered by hearing exams and use it to determine whether you have:

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

After you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to deal with it and to take care of your overall health.

A preemptive plan to lessen the risks caused by hearing loss will be formulated by the specialist after evaluating the results of the test.

What Are The Risk Factors of Neglecting Hearing Loss?

Medical science is beginning to understand how quality of life and health are impacted by loss of hearing. Researchers from Johns Hopkins monitored 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that an increased risk of dementia comes with hearing loss. The more substantial the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate loss of hearing, according to this study. A moderate loss means three times the risk, and severe hearing impairment increases the risk by five.

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

A hearing test could explain a recent bout of exhaustion, also. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. It needs to work harder to detect and translate sound when there is loss of hearing. 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 depression and loss of hearing, especially age-related hearing loss when it is left untreated.

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

A professional hearing test is a painless and safe way to learn 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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC