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Does it seem like a hearing test is something you only get if you think you have a problem with your ears? Maybe a spouse complains you have the sound too high on the television when you watch your favorite show or you’ve noticed that conversations seem garbled more and more. Those are both practical reasons to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders claims about 15 percent of the adult population living in the United States has similar problems, more so as they grow older. In fact, it’s likely that you have some level of hearing loss and getting the test done will lead to a diagnosis. What you might not know, though, is getting screened for even minor hearing loss is a lifesaver because the change in your hearing may be a symptom of something much bigger. Consider four ways getting a hearing test could save your life.

How Hearing Loss is Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s a connection that clinical researchers made just recently, but one that could potentially affect millions of individuals. The World Health Association estimates that by 2050, there will be over 100 million individuals globally suffering from some form of dementia. At the root of this increase is the age-related hearing loss. Research conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions discovered that people with mild hearing loss, around a 25 decimal decline, increase their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For every 10 decibels that your hearing drops, the risk increases by 20 percent. The reasoning is complex, but, essentially, the struggle to hear constantly takes a toll on the brain. A hearing test can predict your risk level and help create a solution like a hearing aid to reduce the stress and lower your risk.

Heart Disease and Hearing Loss: What’s the Connection

Getting a hearing evaluation may save you from a heart attack or possibly a stroke. Hearing loss is often a symptom of heart disease. The inner ear has a very sensitive network of blood vessels. Even the tiniest change in blood flow, like a poorly functioning major artery, can show up first as hearing loss. If your hearing test indicates a slight decline, but there doesn’t appear to be any problem with the mechanisms of your ears, the next place to look at blood flow.

Hard to Find Skin Cancer

A hearing test is a comprehensive assessment that goes beyond just the audiometer screening. Your physician will do a visual exam of your ears, too. This region is a difficult area to see and where a suspect mole can be easily missed. During the exam of your ears, the physician will look at the skin for signs of lesions or potential cancer growth.

Hearing Loss and Sadness

The old proverb you don’t miss something until it’s gone is very true when it comes to hearing. Even minor hearing loss can bring with it stress and depression. You may not know why you’re struggling to keep up or perhaps you think bad hearing is just part of getting older. You may be afraid of what a hearing test will tell you, too. What if you are going deaf and there is nothing you can do about it? The fear is unwarranted. Most hearing loss is treatable either medically or by using a hearing assistance device. Either way, you have more to lose than gain by avoiding this simple test. You’re making a choice when you decide to live with your hearing loss instead of getting tested and treated. Now you know it’s a decision that can really cost you.

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