Elderly woman taking online hearing test

Online hearing tests: Are they accurate?

26 / 04 / 24

Blog post

Have you considered taking an online hearing test but aren’t sure how accurate it is? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

In today’s article, we will dive into online hearing tests, and discuss their benefits and limitations.

How does an online hearing test work?

So, users can access an online hearing test through a website or application on their computer, tablet, or smartphone. Before the test starts, it will guide you through a series of instructions to ensure proper setup and understanding of the testing procedure. 

The test will begin with a series of tones or sounds at varying frequencies and volumes. They’re played through your devices’ speakers or headphones and are designed to cover the range of frequencies typically associated with human speech and environmental sounds.

You will respond to the tone by tapping or clicking on “yes or no”. As the test continues, the frequency and volume of the tones will vary to assess different aspects of your hearing. This variation will help evaluate your ability to detect sounds at different pitches and intensities, providing an assessment of your hearing threshold.

Once the test is complete, you will be given a summary of your results. Some online tests may also provide additional information, such as an assessment of hearing loss severity or recommendations for further evaluation by an audiologist.

Young woman taking online hearing test

Benefits of an online hearing test

Online hearing tests provide several benefits to people who can’t attend one in person. Firstly, they’re accessible. Unlike traditional hearing tests requiring appointments with audiologists and visiting clinics, online tests can be taken anytime, anywhere, using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This convenience eliminates barriers to testing, allowing people to assess their hearing without disrupting their daily routines.

Another significant advantage is it’s cost-effective. Online tests are often free or available at a fraction of the cost of in-person evaluations. This affordability makes hearing screening accessible to a wider audience, including those with limited finances or without health insurance coverage for audiology services.

Moreover, online tests can serve as a useful educational resource. Many platforms that offer online hearing tests provide information about hearing loss, its causes, and preventive measures. People can gain valuable insights into how hearing works, and learn about common signs of hearing loss

Also, the tests can help raise awareness about hearing health among the general population. Making hearing screening easily accessible and promoting regular testing, will contribute to people taking a proactive approach to hearing care. Increased awareness can lead to earlier detection of hearing issues, reduced social stigma associated with wearing hearing aids, and improved support for individuals living with hearing loss.

Finally, online tests also offer privacy and discretion, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may feel embarrassed or hesitant about seeking professional help for their hearing concerns. By completing the test in the comfort and privacy of their homes, people can assess their hearing without fear of judgment or scrutiny.

At Sutton Hearing Centre, you can take an online hearing test on our website. With our online hearing test, you can:

  • Learn about your listening abilities
  • Get insights into any hearing challenges
  • Quickly find out if you need to take further action

Audiologist in Sutton about to perform Hearing test

Limitations of an online hearing test

There are benefits to taking an online hearing test, but there are limitations. Firstly, an online hearing test will not provide you with the same results you would receive from an in-person test. 

The lack of testing conditions is a significant constraint. Unlike traditional hearing tests in controlled environments, online tests are often completed in varied settings, such as homes or offices, where ambient noise levels can fluctuate. Background noise can interfere with the test results, leading to inaccurate assessments of hearing ability.

Another limitation lies in the calibration of equipment. Online tests rely on the audio output of devices such as headphones or speakers, which may not always provide accurate sound across different frequencies. Variations in audio equipment quality can distort the sounds presented in the test, affecting the user’s perception of their hearing thresholds.

Moreover, online hearing tests typically use simple tone-based stimuli to evaluate hearing sensitivity. These tests may overlook factors such as speech understanding, localisation ability, and auditory processing skills, which are crucial for assessing overall hearing health comprehensively.

Furthermore, online tests lack the expertise and guidance of trained professionals. Audiologists undergo extensive training to administer and interpret hearing tests accurately. In contrast, online tests rely solely on automated algorithms, which may not account for individual differences in hearing and perception. This absence of human oversight can lead to misinterpretation of results and potentially overlook underlying hearing issues.

Additionally, online tests may not cater to individuals with specific hearing impairments or disabilities. For instance, people with profound hearing loss may struggle to complete the test accurately due to the limited range of stimuli presented or the absence of alternative testing methods, such as visual cues or tactile feedback. 

Book a hearing test with Sutton Hearing

Whilst there are advantages to having a hearing test online, without a doubt, you can’t go wrong with an in-person test. At Sutton Hearing Centre, we provide in-depth hearing tests to diagnose the issues you may be experiencing. We’re a long-established business with a history of over 70 years and a team of highly skilled, professional audiologists. 

Our hearing tests are comprehensive and hassle-free, taking just about an hour of your time. Following your test, we’ll sit down with you to review the results thoroughly and provide personalised recommendations for your next steps. Feeling uncertain about scheduling your first hearing test? Click here to find out all the information you need. 

Book an appointment with us today to receive the help and support you deserve. 

Author Sutton Hearing