Thanks to the internet, you can do everything from the comfort of your home. This includes taking an online hearing test.
Audiologists can sign up to become a Phonak provider, which allows them to be partners and resellers of Phonak products. This way, they can order products from Phonak before selling them to customers.
When taking hearing tests, you’ll want the results to be a true reflection of the auditory ability. Besides, they should help you determine whether you have hearing loss. This begs the question, are online hearing tests comprehensive enough to provide a clear picture of your auditory health?
Understanding online hearing tests
You can find online hearing tests on different platforms, from general health websites to hearing aids manufacturers’ websites. Generally, you’ll be asked to listen to different sounds with various noises in the background.
In a Phonak test, for instance, some words may be called out, and you’ll need to select a photograph that matches each word.
Online hearing tests often come in two formats. The first format involves quiz-based screening, which asks individuals about their auditory ability and general hearing health.
This test format may also ask you to outline your family history hearing loss and other related conditions such as tinnitus.
The second format of online hearing tests is more rigorous. You’ll be asked to listen to an audio with background noises. A number may be called out with different noises playing in the background, and you’ll be asked to point to a corresponding picture.
An online hearing test gives you a general picture of your hearing ability. However, it’s best to remember that these tests don’t replace an in-person physical exam by an audiologist.
Thus, it’s good practice to schedule a consultation with an audiologist after undergoing an online hearing test. If you have hearing loss, he/she will pinpoint its possible causes and solutions.
What precautions should you take?
There are several precautions to take when it comes to online hearing tests. Although computers can produce sounds and tones at different volumes and frequencies, there are some factors that can lead to misleading results.
For starters, there are no federal regulations and laws regarding online hearing tests. Your test may not resemble what a qualified practitioner offers, thus the need to undertake an online hearing test on a credible website.
In these tests, it can also be difficult to completely isolate yourself from exterior noises. Even when taking the test from the comfort of your home, you’ll have to content with ambient noises such as heating units, kids playing, or even noise from the neighbourhood.
Such noises can affect the accuracy of test results.
Like most people, you may not have the high-quality headphones required during online hearing tests. Standard headphones can produce skewed results. Besides, they might not be able to accurately bring out sounds at certain frequencies.
You’re likely to miss out on some of the sounds that would hitherto be audible to you if the test was performed by a professional.
How to ensure accurate results
A lot can go wrong during an online hearing test. Any mistake on your part means you could end up with skewed results that don’t reflect the state of your auditory health. Here’s what you should do before starting an online hearing test:
Find a quite room with minimal background noises and other distractions.
Turn up your computer’s volume to a comfortable and appropriate level.
Ensure there will be no distractions during the test, such as someone walking into the room.
Use high-quality headphones rather than the computer’s speakers.
What to do after your test
If the online hearing test revels you have hearing loss, you should immediately schedule an appointment with an audiologist. This also applies in situations when you discover you have minor hearing loss.
This is because minor hearing loss can lead to more serious problems if you fail to mitigate it. A thorough evaluation by an audiologist will help in determining the cause and severity of your hearing loss, and possible solutions.
Despite the numerous precautions you must take and the possibility of inaccurate results, online hearing tests are not useless. If performed on a credible website and in the recommended environment, you’ll get accurate results that portray your auditory health.
Online hearing tests point you in the correct direction as far as seeking help for hearing loss is concerned.