Online Hearing Exams: Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
Despite the widespread use of technology to order food, find a parking space or help sell your car. There’s an app for everything now right? In fact, you can even get your hearing tested online. Yes, that’s right…
But under the category: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” let’s take a closer look at those online tests:
Most tests use a survey or ask you to listen to audio files of tones or spoken words. One test may ask you to pick out a series of words from background noise ….another may focus on comparing tones at different frequencies. Most tests will give you immediate results, or email them to you soon after the test.
All well and good….but let’s talk about what these tests can and cannot do ok?
Online tests can give you an indication of whether or not you have hearing loss…They are a good way to see if your hearing has returned to normal after being in a stressful situation, like a concert or sporting event. They can also provide access to hearing health information that can help you conserve your hearing with the help of a referral to an audiologist, like me.
However, online hearing tests are not a substitute for a proper hearing test done by a hearing health professional….to their credit, most online hearing websites do emphasize this.
These tests cannot diagnose your hearing problem or determine if you need a hearing aid. You may have conductive hearing loss from excessive ear wax or a tumor that impairs your hearing.
Online hearing tests are also only as good as your technology—if you have an old computer with faulty speakers, that may affect your online test results. If you were wearing headphones, were they fitted properly? Also, if you are calibrating your own computer equipment, you may be subjecting the test to a higher degree of human error. Most online tests do mention this and most also recommend you visit a qualified, licensed, professional audiologist to get a true reading.
So my take home message is: if you are going to see an audiologist anyway, why not just call me at 630.752.9505 and make an appointment?