The Pros and Cons of Online Hearing Tests For Adults - Attune
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The Pros and Cons of Online Hearing Tests For Adults

Online Hearing Tests

Have you recently worried about your hearing no longer being what it once was? Have you noticed yourself frequently asking others to repeat themselves in face-to-face conversations or on the phone? Has a friend, family member or partner remarked that you often don’t react when they call for you? 

These are all good indications that it may be time for a hearing test – which can seem a little intimidating if you’ve never had one. Luckily, the hearing health industry is well aware of this fact and introduced online hearing tests for adults well before the pandemic made them indispensable. 

But just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. Now that we’re through the worst of it and hopefully have COVID lockdowns all behind us, are online hearing tests still the way to go? We’ll look at the benefits and disadvantages of testing hearing online so you can make an informed decision for your health and wellbeing!

What Are Online Hearing Tests? 

Online hearing tests are simple hearing checks which can be completed anywhere with internet access. Some of these tests are quiz-based. Others include listening to voice recordings at different levels of background noise. 

 

  • Online hearing tests are generally free of charge. If you land on a website that asks for your payment details before you can receive your test results, leave it right away!

By opting for an online hearing test, you can get a better picture of your current hearing health without having to see or speak to an audiologist. For many, this is the greatest advantage of testing hearing online. It is, however, also the biggest disadvantage of online hearing tests. Let’s examine why! 

For full disclosure, we’d like to mention that Attune Hearing does offer an online hearing test in the form of a questionnaire. First, we use this test to identify whether or not a patient is eligible for a free in-clinic hearing test.

Our online hearing test has website visitors answer the following questions:

  • Do friends and family members often become frustrated with you when you haven’t heard what they said?
  • Do you find it hard to follow conversations on the phone and often can’t hear who you’re speaking to?
  • Do you find it easy to join in on group conversations? (This could be at the dinner table with family or catching up with friends for coffee)
  • Do you mishear what people say and respond with an incorrect or inappropriate answer?
  • Do you ever experience ringing in the ears that don’t seem to go away?

If you’d like to test it out for yourself, click here

Disadvantages of Online Hearing Testing

The Disadvantages of Online Hearing Testing

Not to seem all negative, but to get it out of the way, let’s begin with why an online hearing test may not be a great idea. 

  • Online tests disregard various hearing abilities.

A clear downside to online hearing tests is the lack of testing for different types, degrees and causes of hearing loss. Most tests simply check for hearing thresholds and fail to determine how far any hearing loss has progressed, where the cause for the decline lies or if any physical conditions, such as a wax obstruction, negatively impact your hearing. Most of these things can only be determined by a face-to-face examination.

  • Lower reliability and limited accuracy.

There are many guidelines audiologists have to follow when undertaking comprehensive hearing tests. Most of these rules fly out of the window with online hearing tests, making them less reliable and accurate.  

For example, guidelines focus on acceptable ambient noise levels in clinic settings. At home or wherever else you decide to test your hearing online, it’s rarely possible to guarantee the same standards are met. Secondly, the type and quality of headphones you’re using may distort test results.

  • Lacking expert advice and personalised support.

No online test can compete with the vast knowledge and experience of a trained and accredited audiologist. They will, for example, consider your current and past medical history before beginning your examination.

A comprehensive diagnostic assessment generally includes Audiometry, Tympanometry and Pure-Tone Testing, a Speech Discrimination test and any additional assessments your audiologist deems necessary following your conversation and evaluation of the first test results.

Benefits of Online Hearing Tests

The Benefits of Online Hearing Tests 

Online hearing tests exist for a good reason: Not to replace a physical examination by a trained audiologist, but to help a person detect the first signs of hearing loss that would warrant a trip to the nearest hearing clinic. 

As a result, taking an online hearing test for adults is generally a good idea because they are: 

  • Easy to use – If you know how to use a computer and navigate the internet, you’ll probably be able to take an online hearing test. 
  • Fast – Online tests take, on average, only about five minutes to complete and give you an instant indication of the quality of your hearing.
  • Convenient – Online hearing tests can be completed anywhere, particularly in the comfort of your home. No need to leave the house! 
  • Informative – Most online hearing test results will tell you whether or not it’s time to see a hearing professional for further tests. 

When is an Online Hearing Test a Good Idea? 

Whilst online hearing tests for adults are far from perfect, they do have obvious use cases. Should you, for whatever reason, not be able to attend an in-person hearing test, an online assessment or quiz can be an easy and fast way to find out whether or not you should give your local audiologist a call. 

Enquire now