How Reliable Is An Online Hearing Test?
When you suspect that you might have some type of hearing loss, it can be tempting to try and find an online hearing test to check your hearing. There are plenty of online hearing tests, and they are usually free, so you could try several hearing tests if you wanted.
The problem is, these simple online hearing screening tools aren’t the most reliable option when it comes to diagnosing hearing loss. To help explain why, our audiologist here at The Hearing Clinic has some insights to share.
Online Hearing Tests Are Limited
You may have had simple hearing screening tests when you were in grade school. Those screenings had limited utility, and the online hearing tests you can find are very similar.
With an online hearing test, they check for your ability to hear sounds at different pitches. Some will add in interference to make the test a little more useful in determining hearing loss, as many people with hearing loss find it difficult to hear well when there are several different sounds to process.
However, an online hearing test cannot provide the depth of a comprehensive hearing evaluation provided by an audiologist. By working with an audiologist, you can have your:
- Pitch and frequency hearing range evaluated.
- Speech understanding and comprehension checked.
- Physical examination of your ear.
- Personal medical history evaluation.
Our audiologist has specialized tools that will allow him to assess your hearing needs, as well as years of training and experience. So, if you suspect hearing loss, you should never settle for an online hearing test.
Signs You May Have Hearing Loss
If you are concerned enough about your hearing that you have looked into online hearing tests, you must have seen some of the signs of hearing loss. The most common signs and symptoms of hearing loss are:
- Things sound muffled or far away.
- You have trouble following conversations with two or more people talking to you.
- People often sound like they are whispering or mumbling while talking to you.
- Audio devices - TV, radio, phone, etc. - are turned at or near max volume for clarity.
- Tinnitus symptoms have increased.
- Women and children are hard to understand with their higher-pitched voices.
Should you have noticed these signs, you may have been tempted to dismiss them by taking a simple online hearing test. But in reality, the only way to be sure about your potential hearing loss is by having a comprehensive hearing test.
Why You Should Have A Comprehensive Hearing Test
Hearing loss is far more impactful than just needing people to speak up. If you aren’t positive that there are any benefits to having a comprehensive hearing test, you may want to consider the impact of struggling with untreated hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Can Happen Earlier Than You Think
Many people believe that hearing loss only impacts senior citizens. While there is a high correlation between hearing loss and aging, hearing loss can start far earlier than most people would ever expect. In fact, once you are in your late forties and early fifties, you would highly benefit from having yearly hearing evaluations
After a lifetime of noise exposure, both in the workplace and your personal life, your hearing can start to deteriorate early. By addressing your hearing loss while it is still mild or moderate, you can halt the effects it has on your life.
Untreated Hearing Loss Can Trigger Depression
Those who have untreated hearing loss often struggle with depression. While hearing loss does not technically cause depression, hearing loss can isolate you from others. Also, having untreated hearing loss can lead you to become self-conscious about your hearing difficulties, and you may avoid social situations.
When you become isolated and struggle with loneliness due to untreated hearing loss, it is far easier for depression to set it. Yet, with a hearing evaluation with our audiologist, you can halt this process in its tracks.
Increased Risk Of Dementia With Hearing Loss
Another impactful effect of untreated hearing loss is the increased risk of dementia. When the auditory system breaks down due to untreated hearing loss, the brain is impacted.
The areas of the brain that are used to process sounds, speech, and language comprehension are impacted by hearing loss. Without hearing aids to help facilitate hearing, those areas of the brain can shrink, leaving you with reduced grey matter.
With the impairment of that area of your brain, other cognitive areas are impacted, leaving you vulnerable to cognitive decline and dementia. However, tentative research has found that using hearing aids is an effective way to reduce your hearing loss-induced dementia risks.
Hearing Loss Can Lead To Balance Issues
Your hearing is also closely tied to your balance, and often issues with one will trigger problems with the other system. The semicircular canals that help control your balance and prevent sensations like vertigo are located in your inner ear, near the cochlea.
If the delicate sound-transmitting hairs in your cochlea have become damaged due to hearing loss, it is likely that the hairs in your semicircular canals have also suffered damage. Using hearing aids can help you hear the sounds of things around you, such as vehicles and the steps of other pedestrians, allowing you to balance and react appropriately.
Visit The Hearing Clinic For A Hearing Evaluation
Here at The Hearing Clinic, we understand that it can be difficult and sometimes intimidating to come in for a hearing evaluation. That’s why our audiologist and staff provide personalized care, and our audiologist makes sure to take time to explain what goes on during the hearing evaluation as well as covering your test results at the conclusion of your hearing tests.
To schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation at one of our hearing offices, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment.