More people are using online test apps to get an idea about their hearing ability. Taking a hearing test from the comfort of your living room may sound like a better alternative to visiting an audiologist. However, one question remains; are online hearing test results accurate and reliable? Well, here’s what you need to know about online hearing tests.
What Do Online Hearing Tests Involve?
Typically, online hearing tests begin with questions about your hearing ability in ordinary situations. Thereafter, you’ll listen to a couple of short conversations featuring background noises in varying frequencies. In a Phonak Online Hearing Test, for instance, the answers you provide will determine how well you perceived what was said during the conversations. Afterwards, feedback will be provided on whether you have hearing loss and the severity of the condition.
By taking an online test, you’ll be conducting a self-administered examination that accesses your hearing function and ability in different circumstances. In an online test, various words may be called out, and all you have to do is pick up photographs that represent the words. However, there are several challenges with online hearing tests. For starters, if you’re in a noisy room, the background noises will affect the results. Furthermore, the quality of sound that you hear is dependent on the quality of sound generated by your smartphone/computer speaker.
To avoid the typical limitations of online hearing tests, it’s best to take your test in a silent room. Also, ensure that the computer or smartphone you use to take the test has good-quality speakers. Despite the limitations, online hearing tests can confirm any suspicions you may have about your auditory ability. However, if an online test reveals that your auditory ability is fine, yet you still find it difficult to follow conversations, it’s best to schedule a physical examination with an audiologist for an accurate diagnosis.
How to Find An Effective Online Hearing Test
Internet hearing evaluations are all the rage, and thus, you should beware of scammers. A reliable online hearing test won’t require you to listen to random sounds. Instead, you’ll first be asked questions relating to your ability to hear sounds at varying volumes and frequencies.
A credible test will also inquire about any health problems you might be experiencing and whether you have tinnitus. Some online tests do not only chart your results for interpretation but also compare them with the results of patients with similar symptoms. This makes it easier to determine the degree of your hearing loss.
Limitations of Online Hearing Tests
The results of an online hearing test can be erroneous. It’s best to keep in mind that these tests are generally self-administered and no hearing professional is involved. Besides, the results can also be affected by variations in ambient noise levels. There are no guidelines regarding the acceptable level of ambient noise when undertaking online tests, unlike the case with physical hearing tests. Without a specially-designed examination room, achieving accurate results is difficult.
With online hearing tests, there are no strict audiology standards for earphone or headphone calibration for home computer systems. Thus, if you take similar tests on different computers, the results may vary. Moreover, online tests nop not involve a comprehensive hearing evaluation. In physical tests, an audiologist will thoroughly access your ears to determine the presence of bleeding, infections, drainage, or ear wax. This essential aspect of auditory examinations isn’t possible with an online hearing test.
Testing your hearing ability online is an effective way of determining whether you have hearing loss. However, it’s best to take the test in a room that meets the stipulated guidelines. Likewise, consider visiting an audiologist afterwards for a more comprehensive examination.
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