Online Hearing Tests – What You Need to Know

For anyone who is wondering whether they are experiencing hearing loss, there are a number of free hearing test that you can take online that will give you some guidance on whether you should seek professional help. Online hearing tests are not meant to replace a hearing test that would be administered by an audiologist, but they can be a quick, easy and effective way to learn if it is time to seek professional help for hearing loss.

Man Listening To Gossip

Many of the online hearing tests are affiliated with the big hearing aid companies and generally they use the tests as a sales tool. These types of tests often require you to input your name and information in order to get the results of your test. A few of the best online hearing tests are actually from a couple of the top hearing aid companies and don’t require your info to get the results (see below). For most of the tests you will be asked a number of questions about types of situations that you have difficulty hearing. Then you may be asked to listen to words and/or tones to identify the words and/or sounds that you are hearing.

When you are taking an online hearing test, make sure you are in a quiet place. It is preferable to use headphones, although if you don’t have any you can use the speakers on your computer but you will get a more accurate reading by using headphones. On some of the tests that we tried we got wildly different results using speakers vs headphones. The headphones can also help to test ear specific information, so the left ear and right ear can be tested separately. If you don’t use headphones both ears will be tested together. Almost all of the tests don’t take any longer than about 5 minutes to complete.

Most of the online hearing tests are a little different from each other, but they also have a lot of things in common. Some of the tests are just a simple series of questions about your hearing loss, and then depending on your answers you will receive a recommendation.

Other tests combine personal questions with speech understanding by asking you to select images based on a spoken word.  The speech test helps to measure how well you are able to understand and hear speech spoken at a normal level and/or with background noise. The other common thing to test is how well you are able to hear different tones.  The tone test will find measure how well you can hear different tones and frequencies. If the test is designed to test your speech understanding or your tone,   you will need to calibrate the sound of your speakers or headphones before you begin to match the test.

Depending on which test you do, you will then get your results which will give you some indication on whether you need to follow up with a hearing professional

The results for online hearing tests aren’t designed to be super accurate; they are more useful as a guide to indicate whether you may have hearing difficulties that should be looked at by a hearing professional.

There are a lot of online hearing tests to choose from but many require you to input your personal information.  Here are a few that are worth checking out, that don’t require you to input your personal information in order to see the results:

  • Starkey– This test is very good and easy to use.  It has three parts to the test; personal questions, speech understand and tone hearing. Even though Starkey is one of the big hearing aid manufacturers, you don’t need to input your info to get the results.
  • Phonak is another great online test that is available from one of the big hearing aid companies. It is easy to use; they basically test using a number of questions and sounds. It also gives you next steps if your results indicate hearing loss.
  • My Hearing Test is a great (un-affiliated with any big hearing aid company) test that is very user friendly and really seems to test the tone well.  Make sure you are using headphones with this test; I got very different results using headphones vs using my computers speakers. One great feature is it gives you a record for a particular date that you can refer back to if you would like to track hearing loss over a certain time period.
  • UNSW Hearing Test – This one isn’t my favorite interface and is a little complicated, so you have to read the directions very carefully. The test features tones from 20 Hz to 16 KHz. You click until you can barely hear the tone and it registers the level.
  • Handtronix– Is a simple test that tests whether you can hear tones from 500 Hz to 8000Hz.