Online Hearing TestBy Frankie Goodman 09th July 2020 Always Hear
There are more enquiries in recent years for an online hearing test. In changing times it is completely understandable that people would like the convenience of conducting the assessment in the convenience of their own home. However an online hearing test is unlikely to be accurate to reliably identify the extent of your hearing loss.
Online hearing tests can be problematic. If you are in a room with background noise, the results will not be accurate. In addition, the quality of the sound you hear is only as good as the quality of sound that is generated by your computer speakers.
With a hearing test with an audiologist, the audiologist will ask you a series of questions about your medical and physical history. As there are many physical conditions that can impact your hearing and it is possible your hearing loss can make other medical conditions worse.
The audiologist would then assess your ears to check for any obstructions such as ear wax, drainage or bleeding in the ear canal. This is an important part of the examination and is not possible in a self-administered examination in your own home.
Also, there are strict audiology standards for headphone or earphone calibration that do not exist for home computer systems. Therefore, an individual’s test results on the same home computer using different types of headsets/earphones often vary.
Hearing tests completed online using earphones measure only a single aspect of the hearing system through sound that enters the ear canal, otherwise known as “air conduction” testing. This type of testing evaluates a patient’s hearing sensitivity for different pitches. The results from air conduction testing will outline the amount of hearing loss you are experiencing as well as whether your hearing capabilities meet the “norm.” In the presence of a hearing loss, these tests cannot determine ‘where’ along the auditory system the hearing loss exists. That is, there can be a problem in the ear canal, ear drum or inner ear (the sensory organ for hearing), or with the auditory nerve. Therefore, air conduction testing is only part of a comprehensive hearing evaluation.
At minimum, an additional test of hearing sensitivity using “bone conduction” testing is needed to determine “where” the hearing loss is located. Specialized equipment is necessary to evaluate hearing through this type of testing, which is completed using a specialized headset that can measure sound transmitted through bone. This equipment is not available for home computer systems. Bone conduction testing is the only way to determine if the individual has a medically treatable hearing loss or one which would benefit from amplification.
A comprehensive, diagnostic hearing evaluation completed by an audiologist in a sound-treated environment that meets current testing standards is necessary to ensure hearing-test accuracy and assess appropriate treatment and management options. If you believe you are in need of a hearing test, call your local audiologist and schedule an appointment today.
Online hearing tests are accurate enough to give you an overview of your current hearing state. They cannot offer you a medical diagnosis or identify the root cause or type of hearing, however. For this information, you would have to consult an audiologist.
Find your local audiologist and book your local hearing test with Always Hear today.