Discover whether online hearing tests are right for you.
The internet provides access to almost unlimited information and resources for every area of our lives. This abundance of knowledge can be overwhelming at times, but also incredibly useful when it comes to improving and monitoring our health and wellbeing. For people with hearing loss, the internet can provide tips to navigate nearly every situation, hints for taking care of your hearing health, and other helpful hearing loss information.
If you enjoy surfing the internet, you may have come across online hearing tests. This virtual test can be taken online to provide almost immediate information about your hearing health. While the information you gather from these tests may be helpful, it does not replace an in-person hearing test with your doctor or audiologist. In this post, we’ve outlined the benefits and drawbacks of these online hearing tests to help you decide whether they can be helpful for your situation:
- Time saver
- May feel less scary to some
- Misinterpreted results
- Doesn’t account for various hearing abilities
- Lack of expert, personalized advice
- Treatment needed remains separate
Learn more about these pros and cons of hearing tests below.
Online hearing tests make it incredibly easy for people who suspect they have hearing loss to start the process of learning about their hearing performance. They can take the test when it’s convenient, from the comfort of their home. If you take an online hearing test and it suggests that you have some level of hearing loss, be sure to schedule an appointment with your audiologist to confirm the results and discuss a treatment plan.
Pro: Time saver
Another benefit of completing an online hearing test is the potential time that it can save. Online testing doesn’t require you to travel to a clinic to be tested. Also, most digital tests are quite simple and have only a few steps. By participating in a short online test, you may receive results quickly – sometimes within half an hour. When your schedule clears up and you have more time, it’s important to take the results and any questions to an audiologist or hearing healthcare professional who can provide an accurate picture about your hearing health.
Pro: May feel less scary to some
Taking a digital hearing test in the privacy of your own home may feel less intimidating than making an appointment with an audiologist. Some people also may feel that it’s easier to process the results on their own before seeking assistance from a professional. If this is the case for you, online tests may be a helpful first step before you see an audiologist in person.
Con: Misinterpreted results
Because these hearing tests are completed online via the use of headphones, the results of the test can be easily skewed. If the testing environment in your home is noisy and exposes you to additional sounds, you may not receive the most accurate hearing results. The quality of headphones you are using can further distort testing results and make it seem like your hearing capability is better (or worse) than it really is. Only a qualified hearing health professional can provide a complete assessment of your hearing.
Con: Doesn’t account for various hearing abilities
Another downside of online hearing testing is their inability to provide an in-depth analysis of hearing health. Many digital tests only check threshold limits of sound and may not account for difficulties in understanding speech or hearing in noisy environments. In addition, online tests cannot identify the kind of hearing loss you may have or its cause. Your audiologist will have additional tools available to assess your hearing.
Con: Lack of expert, personalized advice
Even the most cleverly designed online hearing tests cannot truly compare to an in-person analysis by a qualified hearing health professional. While in the office, your audiologist can complete a thorough physical examination of the ear and your hearing abilities with exposure to different frequencies and sounds. Through this process, you’ll receive a personalized and precise analysis of your hearing capacity, a benefit that isn’t possible with digital testing.
Con: Treatment needed remains separate
If you complete an online hearing test and receive results indicating that further action is needed, you will still need to see an audiologist to receive treatment. By beginning with a professional hearing test instead of an online version, you can start any needed treatment right away and receive personalized advice moving forward. With an online test, you will still need to complete in-person testing before any treatment can be correctly prescribed.
While online hearing tests can provide a convenient place to start when identifying hearing loss, it’s best to seek professional help to ensure you have an accurate picture of your hearing health and receive personalized treatment for your situation.
Ready to schedule your appointment with an audiologist? Review our guide on what to expect at a hearing test before you go.
Find more helpful resources for people who experience hearing loss on our blog.