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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

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Hearing tests supply important information about your health. Because ears are so sensitive, hearing tests can sometimes identify early signs of other health problems. What will you learn from a hearing examination?

A Hearing Test, What is it?

Out of the various varieties of hearing tests, putting on earphones and listening to a series of tones is the standard assessment. The hearing expert will play these tones at various volumes and pitches to determine whether you have hearing loss, and if so the depth of the loss.

Another typical hearing exam includes listening to words in one ear and repeating them back to make sure you were able to interpret sounds accurately. At times, this test is purposely done with background noise to see whether that affects your hearing. To be able to get an accurate measurement for each side, tests are done on each ear individually.

What do Hearing Test Results Indicate?

Whether a person has loss of hearing, and the extent of it, is what the standard hearing test determines. Normal hearing in adults with minor loss of hearing is 25 decibels or less. From there, hearing professionals gauge hearing loss as:

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

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

Do Hearing Tests Determine Anything Else?

There are also test that can evaluate the viability of structures of the middle ear like the eardrum, how clearly a person hears with background noise, the threshold of air and bone conduction, and the kind of hearing loss.

Other health issues can also be revealed by a hearing test like:

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

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

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

Once you recognize why you have hearing loss, you can look for ways to manage it and to take care of your general health.

The hearing expert will also examine the results of the examination to identify risk factors caused by your hearing loss and come up with a preemptive plan to minimize those risks.

If You Ignore Hearing Loss, What Are The Risks?

Medical science is starting to comprehend 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 loss of hearing. The more significant the hearing loss, the greater the risk.

Based on to this study, someone with mild loss of hearing has twice the risk of dementia. Three times the risk comes with moderate hearing loss and five times the risk with severe loss of hearing.

There is evidence of social decline with loss of hearing, as well. People will stay away from discussions if they have difficulty following them. Less time with friends and family and more time alone can be the result.

A recent bout of exhaustion could also be explained by a hearing test. In order to understand what you hear, the brain has to do work. It needs to work harder to perceive and interpret sound when there is hearing loss. Your left always feeling tired as 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 eliminate or decrease these risks, and a hearing test is the first step for correct treatment.

An expert hearing test is a pain-free and comfortable way to find out a lot about your hearing and your health, so why are you waiting to schedule your appointment?