The next time your favorite food tastes a little different than normal, or you lose your balance walking from the living room to the kitchen, you might want to consider having your audiologist conduct a hearing test. All the various parts of the ear, from the auditory canal, to the ear drum and the stirrup, contribute not only to the ability to hear, but also the taste of food, your speech, and even your perception. The following is a brief description of how these four senses can be affected by hearing loss and how a hearing test might just help mitigate such effects.
Effect On Perception
While hearing loss inevitably makes it harder to hear what others are saying, it also affects the way we perceive what is being said. Because hearing loss can affect the degree to which you interpret pitch, timber, masking, and localization, your overall perception might also be adversely affected.
For instance, your ability to localize certain sounds—in other words, to determine the direction from which sounds are emanating—is a factor of the hearing in your left and right ears. If you are having trouble localizing sounds, it may be a result of hearing loss in one or both ears. A hearing test will serve to identify the issue and present you with options for remedying the problem.
Effect On Balance
Hearing also affects your balance, and even if it seems like you can still hear clearly, an injury to one of the many components that make up the inner ear can affect the ease with which you stand on your own two feet. The vestibular system of the inner ear is one of the body's primary tools for maintaining balance. A hearing test may shed light on whether or not your balance is a function of hearing loss or an entirely different ailment.
Effect On Speech
Hearing is also vital to the development of speech. When learning to speak, most able-bodied persons learn by listening and repeating, and hearing loss can significantly impede this process. Even for individuals who may have lost their hearing later in life, years of deprived hearing can ultimately affect enunciation of certain sounds. Nonetheless, especially with regard to children, regular hearing tests can help catch hearing issues early and reduce the overall effects of hearing loss on speech.
Effect On Taste
Finally, hearing loss can actually affect the taste of food. In fact, your ability to hear high or low frequency sounds can ultimately affect the sweetness or bitterness in certain foods. This might explain why in-flight meals taste so bland and uneventful. The science involves how the human brain inhibits or exacerbates certain flavors in accordance with certain frequencies. Overall, a hearing test may bring back the sweet savory taste of your favorite foods by restoring a hearing deficit in some particular frequency.
Ultimately, you can see how hearing tests are essential in maintaining your perception and balance, as well as to ensure proper speech development, and even to enhance the flavors of your favorite foods. For more information, contact Hearing Specialists of DuPage or a similar location.