If you’re interested in having your first hearing test, chances are there’s a hearing aid dispenser or audiologist near you that will give you one at no cost. Of course, their interest in doing so is to sell you a hearing aid, so be aware of that going in.
There are also some online hearing screenings that can give you a rough idea of the extent of your hearing loss.
Sept 2012 – Older Adults May Not Benefit from Hearing Screenings
July 2012 – China implements telephone hearing test
April 2012 – FDA Halts hi HealthInnovations’ Online Hearing Test
March 2012 – Verification and Validation: The Chasm between Protocol and Practice
March 2012 – Researcher focuses on improving hearing testing
December 2011 – HLAA Comments on Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults
October 2011 – The Best Phone Apps to Check Your Hearing
August 2011 – Hearing aid verification using real ear measurement systems
June 2011 – Online Hearing Test
June 2011 – MarkeTrak VIII: Reducing Patient Visits Through Verification & Validation
June 2011 – Audiotoniq Announces Revolutionary High-Tech Hearing System
February 2011 – New Method of Hearing Testing Introduced by PHSI and Audigence
January 2011 – New Way to Diagnose Hearing Loss in Infants
November 2010 – The Hearing Aid Dispenser as the Key Factor in Determining Successful Use of a Hearing Aid
February 2010 – Hearing Test Among Top Ten iPhone Medical Downloads!
October 2009 – Programming hearing aids using speech rather than beeps!
More on this and related topics
Older Adults May Not Benefit from Hearing Screenings
There’s not enough evidence to say whether older adults should be screened for hearing loss if they don’t have any symptoms, according to a new statement from a government-backed panel. The recommendation, released on Monday, should not stop people over 50 years old from telling their doctor about hearing problems, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). It also shouldn’t stop doctors from screening patients with symptoms of hearing loss. “If you have a hearing problem, you should absolutely bring it up with your doctor,” said Dr. Albert Siu, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and co-vice chair of the USPSTF. “This is not about fancy audiometric screenings,” he told Reuters Health. “This is just about simple screenings that doctors and clinicians can do in the office.” Full Story
Researcher focuses on improving hearing testing
Dr Teal’s research is focused on new ways of measuring the cochlea microphonic signal. The cochlea is a spiralling, snail-like chamber embedded inside bone which turns sound vibrations into electrical signals that travel along nerves to the brain and allow us to hear. A healthy cochlea provides compression which amplifies quiet sounds more than loud sounds. In the most common form of hearing loss, this compression is degraded. The current, standard test for hearing loss is an audiogram that Dr Teal says effectively measures the softest sounds people can hear but is less reliable in gauging how well they hear louder sounds. “Modern hearing aids are capable of helping people to better hear both soft and loud sounds, but current tests don’t define the full spectrum and prescriptions are based on population averages rather than an individual’s condition. My vision is that we will one day be able to hook people up to a device that plays them tones and sounds and gives an automatic read-out on the make-up of the hearing aid they need.” Full Story
Verification and Validation: The Chasm between Protocol and Practice
Although the two largest audiology associations stressed the importance of verification and validation in hearing aid fittings years ago, audiologists are largely noncompliant with recommendations to use these best practices. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association first emphasized their value in 1998, followed by the American Academy of Audiology in 2006. In just the past five years alone since AAA adopted its practice guidelines, nearly half of audiologists surveyed by ASHA said they do not use verification and validation processes. Two ASHA surveys indicated that only about 55 percent of audiologists performed verification with REM, with no indication of how frequently this service was provided. Validation of outcomes with self-reported questionnaires was practiced by only about 36 percent of the audiologists surveyed. Full Story
HLAA Comments on Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults
HLAA sent comments to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on the issue of screening for hearing loss in older adults December 7, 2011. HLAA Board Member Meg Wallhagen provided valuable advice, helping us draft our comments. USPSTF is a national, independent panel of medical experts that makes recommendations, based on scientific evidence, to primary care doctors and other health care providers about which clinical preventive services they should offer their patients. USPSTF invited public comment on its draft Recommendation Statements before publication. One of the three draft statements open for public comment was: “Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.” Full Story
The Best Phone Apps to Check Your Hearing
Health-related applications (known as “apps”) for smart phones are some of the most frequently downloaded apps on the market. Young people, mid-lifers, and the “silver” generation embrace the convenience of using smart phones as mobile storage devices and personal information centers to improve, enhance, and simplify their lives. People with hearing loss and those and those who suspect they may be experiencing hearing loss have a variety of tools available to them that screen for symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. These apps, which are readily available for iPhones, phones operating on the Android operating system, and many others, help to catch signs of hearing loss early and put individuals in control of their own health care. Smart phone apps that test for hearing loss serve as a means to help screen hearing-related conditions. This enables the user to visit an audiologist or ear doctor to relay findings. Most of these apps offer the ability ability to store results for future retrieval and share them via e-mail with a hearing care professional. Full Story
Hearing aid verification using real ear measurement systems
According to many experts, the use of real ear measurement, specifically speech mapping, is the “best practice” and should be a standard service in fitting hearing aids. The United Kingdom requires real ear measures as part of verifying correct hearing aid fittings. The use of real ear measures provides the wearer with a valid, replicable measure of the improvement received from amplification. Speech mapping is quickly and easily done in the office and can take less than ten minutes to complete. Full Story
MarkeTrak VIII: Reducing Patient Visits Through Verification & Validation
We have all heard the old adage time is money. In our recent paper,1 it was determined that the number of patient visits to adjust hearing aids was highly correlated with real-world success. In comparing patients who experienced above- or below-average success with their hearing aids, the following was discovered:
* 76% of patients with above-average success were fit in 1 or 2 visits compared to 40% of patients who experienced below-average success.
* 47% of patients with below-average success required 4 to 6 visits to fit their hearing aids compared to only 7% of patients who experienced above-average success.
In short, highly successful patients required fewer visits to the clinic. What could explain this difference in number of visits? It is hypothesized that a lack of verification (real-ear measurement) and validation (confirmation of a patient’s performance with their hearing aids) during the hearing aid fitting increased the number of patient visits. For some patients the result was a less-than-optimum fit, reduced hearing aid utility, and mediocre benefit-each of which accrues to result in rejection and/or the return of the hearing aids for credit. Full Story
Online Hearing Test
I just ran across another online hearing test that looks interesting and seems to do a decent job of hearing screening. Note that none of these online tests is a replacement for testing by a qualified hearing professional, but they can provide an indication that you might want to have a more thorough test. Check it out