Worried about your hearing? You might have seen that some websites, including ours, are now offering online hearing tests to check whether you have any problems. These online tests are a great screening tool to give you an idea of your hearing levels, but should not replace a full diagnostic hearing assessment by a hearing professional.
How Do Online Hearing Tests Work?
Online hearing tests are simple. You’ll hear a series of sounds in-ear to check which frequencies you can hear and at what volume you can hear them.
Some tests personalise your results by asking personal questions about you. For example, knowing how old you are will help a test decide if it thinks reduced hearing at some frequencies is a natural problem caused by aging, or something else. These questions help the test personalise your results and aim to increase both the accuracy and the relevance of the advice you receive.
4 Reasons Why You Should See An Audiologist if You Feel You Have A Hearing Loss
Online hearing tests are getting more sophisticated, but should only be used as a screening tool. The test will help to advise whether you have a hearing loss or not, but it is not able to check your ears for wax or other blockages, check the health of your eardrums or hypothesise on what may be causing your hearing loss. It is also unable to identify serious underlying health issues that a consultation with an Audiologist could identify. Furthermore, the equipment you use at home with an online hearing test does not necessarily meet the same standards as headphones used by your Audiologist, meaning you could obtain incorrect results.
If you are undergoing a hearing test for a particular job, such as a Pilot’s Licence or Commercial Driver’s Licence, an online test is not sufficient in providing reliable and accurate results.
What Does an Audiologist Do That an Online Test Doesn’t?
When you visit an audiologist, you’ll receive a far more comprehensive hearing test than you would online. Not only does an audiologist have a university qualification and advanced training, but they also have access to specialist equipment.
For example, they can provide the correct conditions for an accurate test (i.e. soundproof booth) to establish a baseline measurement of your hearing – the amount of background noise in the average home makes this impossible to do accurately.
The audiologist will:
- Consider your medical history and any current conditions.
- Physically examine your ears using an otoscope.
- Assess the health of your eardrums and the space behind the eardrums.
- Go beyond hearing loss to help diagnose the cause of frequent ear infections, address balance issues, and remove wax or other foreign bodies from the ear.
- Provide precise diagnosis and treatment.
When Should You Book In With An Audiologist?
You should book an appointment if you or your friends or family have noticed an issue with your hearing. Common issues include regularly speaking too loudly, having to turn up the volume on the radio or television higher than before, and having problems concentrating on voices in a noisy room.
Concerned about your hearing? Book an appointment online today.