The Importance of a Hearing Test for Iowa Residents Skip to Main Content

Why Do I Need a Hearing Test?

Why Do I Need a Hearing Test
– 6.5 minute read

Concept by Iowa Hearing Explains Why Hearing Health Matters

At Concept by Iowa Hearing, we stress the importance of hearing health and how it helps us stay connected to the world around us. We might take our ability to communicate with others, hear traffic noises, and listen to birds chirping in the morning for granted. However, what happens when we start to lose this precious sense? How do we know when it’s time to get a hearing test and seek help? Everyone should have a hearing test as part of their overall healthcare plan, even if they don’t suspect they have hearing loss or currently wear hearing aids. Like eyesight, hearing can diminish with age, and managing hearing problems at their earliest stage is essential. Has it been a while since you’ve had a hearing test? Contact one of our hearing care centers to schedule yours today.

How Do We Hear Sounds?

From the sounds that make us smile to the alarms and sirens that warn of danger, our hearing is vital in everyday life. As sound waves travel through the ear canal, they vibrate the eardrum. These vibrations are transferred to three tiny bones in the middle ear, sending electrical signals to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound. Gentle vibrations are translated as soft sounds, while more intense vibrations are interpreted louder. It’s a complex process that relies on each part of the ear working properly, and if any of these parts are damaged, the process doesn’t work.

Hearing Loss Is Linked to Other Health Problems

Hearing tests and finding solutions to improve your hearing are so essential because if the condition is left untreated, studies show hearing loss is directly related to additional health concerns. Having a hearing test and getting fitted with hearing aids if you’re a candidate are proactive measures to protect against:

  • Cognitive disorders like dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Balance Issues 

Understanding the Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a breakdown in the chain of sound processing through the outer, middle, and inner ear. Not all hearing loss is the same. A blockage that diminishes a person’s hearing is different than damage to the cochlea in the inner ear. Hearing loss is defined in three categories:

  • Sensorineural – This is the most common type of hearing loss and develops when there is damage to the cochlea or cochlear nerve in the inner ear, which turns the vibrations from the eardrum into electrical signals that get processed by the brain. This type of loss is permanent and can get progressively worse with age or health conditions.
  • Conductive – When a person has a blockage in the middle or outer ear, it falls into this category. Typical situations include earwax buildup or a growth abnormality. Conductive hearing loss usually isn’t permanent and can be treated with medication or surgical procedures.
  • Mixed – It’s possible for a person with sensorineural hearing loss to develop conductive hearing loss due to a blockage or abnormality and vice versa. Any time an individual has loss caused by both categories, it’s classified as mixed hearing loss.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss is less common and is typically temporary or reversible with medical attention. Causes include fluid buildup from a cold or flu, a hole in the eardrum, wax buildup, and benign tumors. Everyone is at risk for the more common sensorineural type due to age or lack of ear protection in loud environments. Common causes include:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Sudden loud noise
  • Exposure to loud noise for long periods, such as at work
  • Head trauma
  • Medications

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

The symptoms of hearing loss can vary from person to person, but common signs include difficulty understanding speech, asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, and tinnitus or ringing in the ears.

What to Expect at a Hearing Test

We offer various hearing tests to gauge the health of the outer, middle, and inner ear. You don’t necessarily need all of these tests, but after consulting with the audiologist to discuss your experience and symptoms, they will determine which tests are appropriate for you. These include:

  • Pure-Tone Testing – In this test, you’ll wear a pair of headphones and listen to sounds played at various volumes and frequencies. As you hear the sounds, you’ll acknowledge them by raising your hand, pushing a button, or verbally. The audiologist will track the results.
  • Speech Discrimination – The process is similar to the pure-tone test and measures your ability to understand speech.
  • Bone Conduction – If there is a blockage or injury to the outer or middle ear, bone conduction uses an instrument to bypass those parts of the canal to check the health of the inner ear.
  • Tympanometry – We use this test to check how the eardrum responds to sound and its overall health.

Hearing Aids Help Most People With Hearing Loss

There isn’t a cure for sensorineural hearing loss. However, since it is the most common type and found primarily among adults over the age of 60, the majority of patients will find help for their condition through hearing aids. They work by amplifying sound, enabling the brain to process it. Modern products are available in different styles and sizes depending on your needs and lifestyle and are much more discreet than devices worn in the past. Your audiologist will work with you to find the right hearing aid that suits your needs and budget.

Schedule a Free Hearing Test at Concept by Iowa Hearing

Hearing tests at Concept by Iowa Hearing are essential to everyone’s healthcare plan. Working with an audiologist to find a solution for better hearing contributes to your overall happiness. Addressing hearing loss is a preventative measure for other health conditions related to this issue. Anyone over 50 should make hearing health a routine part of their care. If you suspect you have hearing loss or haven’t been tested in a while, contact one of our hearing care centers to schedule a free test. We have locations throughout Iowa with professional audiologists prepared to keep you connected to the world around you.

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