Who Should take an Online Hearing test?
You should take an online hearing test if you think you may have any degree of hearing loss. Maybe a friend or partner has complained that they need to repeat themselves around you. Or maybe you’re finding yourself having trouble with conversations in some settings.
Signs of early hearing loss
How do you know if you have hearing loss? According to the CDC, some signs of early hearing loss include:
- Sounds and voices are muffled.
- You struggle to hear high-pitched noises.
- You have trouble following conversations in a noisy place.
- You struggle with phone conversations.
- You need to ask people to slow down when they speak.
- You can’t tell the difference between certain consonants (e.g., mixing up s and f sounds).
- You need people to speak louder.
- You ask people to repeat themselves.
- You frequently increase the volume of the TV.
- You have tinnitus.
- Some sounds bother you more than others or cause physical pain.
How Online Hearing tests work
Most online tests will ask you some initial questions about your hearing and demographics. You’ll then be presented with sounds of various frequencies and prompted to adjust the sound level or say whether you can hear a particular sound at a specific frequency.
The format can differ slightly from test to test, but tests generally assess your hearing ability to detect pure tones. As Dr. Kim points out, online tests only assess one component of your hearing.
What is an audiogram?
An audiogram is a graph that displays the results of a specific type of hearing test called a pure-tone test. A pure-tone test is the kind of test administered by most online tests.
It shows whether you have trouble hearing specific frequencies. For example, during testing, our tester received consistent results that they had potential mild hearing loss in their right ear, specifically in the case of low frequencies.
But an audiogram has its limitations. According to one 2017 review, an audiogram only provides information about hearing sensitivity, not how you process sound.
Tips for Taking an Online Hearing test
Most quality online hearing tests will take you through some preliminary checklist questions to ensure you’re prepared to take the test.
When taking an online hearing test, you’ll want to:
- Sit in a quiet room.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Turn off any noisy appliances (e.g., air conditioner, fan, etc.).
- Use quality equipment like a good pair of headphones.