Audiology Ear Care - New Brighton, MN

Image of woman getting hearing test with the results superimposed.

Important insight into your state of health is provided by a hearing test. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health issues. What will a hearing examination tell you about your health.

What is a Hearing Test?

There are a variety of types of hearing tests, but the basic evaluation involves putting on earphones and listening to a series of sounds. The hearing expert will play these sounds at different volumes and pitch levels to figure out if you have hearing loss, and if so the severity of the loss.

Another common hearing exam includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make certain you are able to interpret sounds accurately. To see what type of sounds influence your hearing, background noise is often added to this test. In order to get a proper measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.

What do Hearing Test Results Mean?

Ultimately, a standard hearing test pinpoints whether someone has hearing loss and the extent of it. Adults who have minor hearing loss, 25 decibels or less, are considered to have normal hearing. Using this test specialist can determine if the hearing loss is:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Evaluate Anything Else?

There are also test which can determine the viability of structures of the middle ear such as the eardrum, how well someone hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the type of hearing loss.

Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing examination such as:

  • Otosclerosis, which if caught early can sometimes be reversed.
  • Severe headaches and pain in the joints triggered by Paget’s disease.
  • Meniere’s disease and other problems with dizziness and vertigo.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Research reveals that people with RA are as much as 300 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
  • Heart and circulation issues. The inner ear has one blood vessel, which makes it more sensitive to fluctuations in blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Diabetes. Injured blood vessels, including the ones in the inner ear, can theoretically be damaged by too much sugar in the blood.

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

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

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

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

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

Medical science is starting to comprehend how hearing loss impacts a person’s health and quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins kept track of 636 individuals over 12 years. They found that those with loss of hearing have a greater risk of dementia. The risk gets higher with more substantial hearing loss.

Two times the risk of dementia comes with moderate hearing loss, based on 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. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the result.

A recent bout of fatigue might also be explained by a hearing test. In order to comprehend what you hear, the brain needs to do work. It needs to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is loss of hearing. Your left always feeling tired because your other senses are robbed of energy.

Finally, the National Council on Aging reports there is a clear correlation between loss of hearing and depression, specifically 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 correct treatment.

A painless way to learn about your hearing and your health is an expert hearing test so schedule your appointment today.

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