In today’s day and age, you can do almost anything online, from paying your bills to shopping, and from catching up with friends to talking to your doctor. One relatively new feature of the internet is being able to get a hearing test without even leaving your couch. But can these online hearing tests replicate what an audiologist can do? We answer this question below.
How Do Online Hearing Tests Work?
Different online hearing tests use different formats, but most involve filling out a simple form, calibrating the volume of your computer, listening to tones of various frequencies and indicating what you can hear. Afterwards, you are provided with relatively simple results.
Benefits of Online Hearing Tests
While not very detailed, these results can be helpful in that they can indicate whether you have a certain level of hearing loss and whether you should seek further testing. Completing these tests multiple times over several years can also help you detect any changes to your hearing.
Limitations of Online Hearing Tests
Though online hearing tests can indicate the presence or absence of hearing loss, they can’t identify the type of hearing loss, the cause(s) of hearing loss or the exact specifications of what you can and can’t hear. This is where comprehensive hearing tests conducted by an audiologist come in.
When to See an Audiologist
If you take an online hearing test and it indicates you likely have some level of hearing loss, schedule a hearing test with an audiologist. In addition, you should see an audiologist if:
- You feel as though others are constantly mumbling
- You ask people to repeat themselves often
- You turn up the TV to a volume that is uncomfortable for others
- You are missing certain sounds, like rustling leaves and chirping birds at Millenium Park
- You have a hard time understanding the voices of women and children
- You have difficulty following conversations in areas with lots of background noise
An audiologist can administer a number of different hearing tests to determine the exact type and degree of your hearing loss, including what sounds you can hear across various frequencies. These results can then be used to program a hearing aid to suit your needs. An online test simply can’t provide this much information about your hearing health.