It seems nowadays that just about everything is available online. What about hearing tests? There are plenty of companies out there offering free hearing tests online. Are they reliable? How accurate are they? Do they really stack up against a test conducted by a trained audiologist?
The Audiologist test.
A free hearing test can be carried out on the NHS if you ask your doctor to arrange one. Typically a test carried out by an audiologist will contain three elements.
This will revolve around a series of questions to allow the audiologist to get a better picture of your overall medical well being. Areas such as medication, problems with balance, noise in your ears (tinnitus) etc… will be covered. This lets the examiner see if there are any other factors that could be impacting on your hearing.
Physical examination of the ear.
The audiologist will want to have a look inside the ear. This quick and painless exam can allow them to see if factors such as a build up of wax, infection or drainage problems are having an effect on your hearing levels.
Actual hearing test.
This test will typically be carried out in a controlled sound booth. This booth will be set up to ensure that there are no background noises to interfere with the test. The headphones that you use will be calibrated to the audiometer that will be used to test you.
The combination of all three of the above will go to making up an extremely accurate diagnosis of your individual hearing capability. The audiology report can then be used to ensure that any hearing aids you may require will be the correct ones for your specific hearing level.
The free hearing test online. (click here to take now)
The accuracy of these free online hearing tests has long been debated. I have taken dozens of these tests over many years and some have been closer to my actual hearing loss level than others.
These tests typically require you to sit at your computer or laptop or even mobile phone and listen to sounds. Various levels of other noise are introduced in the background and if you can hear the sound you are supposed to tap a key on the keyboard. There are other variations available on this theme.
They can be conducted with your own headphones or without. Some companies claim that these tests are extremely accurate whilst others say that they are only an indication that you may have a hearing loss.
In my opinion, a test carried out by a fully qualified audiologist, who carries out the hearing test in a controlled environment and takes into account my medical history and does a physical exam of my ears, will always be the best option to determine the extent of my hearing loss.
However, that is not to dismiss the free hearing test online altogether.
I believe that they can have a part to play in good hearing health. Technology is getting better all the time. Some of these tests are becoming more sophisticated in nature and should lead to more accurate results in the future.
The most important role for these tests could well be that by taking one, they make people at least take notice of their hearing health. Used as an initial tool to perhaps screen for hearing loss, they will hopefully give people the encouragement to go to an audiologist and have a full and thorough hearing test done.
Take the free hearing test online.
Instead of rejecting and denigrating them, I would encourage anyone and everyone to have a go at a free online hearing test. My recommendation would be to then make an appointment with a qualified audiologist and have a full test carried out by the expert.
As always, I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic. Have you ever taken an online hearing test? If you want to take a free online hearing test, you can do so here.
Did the result make you seek further help from an audiologist?Would you consider taking one of these tests first rather than go to a doctor? Any comments can be left below and I will respond as usual.
Please leave a comment below if you have ever taken the online hearing test. Let others know what your experience was like (good or bad).
If you would like to take the test then just click on the link provided. It will take you to Hearing Direct.com where you can take the test for free. Please come back after and tell us about your experience.