Easily accessible health apps on our smartphones made us become reliant on tracking everything about our health from step counting, sleep analysis and heart rate monitoring.
So, can these help you learn more about your own hearing health? Well, the short answer is yes. There’s a raft of available hearing tests online and mobile apps that test your hearing health, such as Apple’s built in monitoring of how loud a user listens to music and prompts warning messages if the listening volume is too loud and at potential harmful levels and it can also alert the user if they’ve listened to loud music for too long.
Apple health also supplies information around the topic of hearing loss and while all this is great news for technology, we need to remember this is also a device that is adding to the hearing health problem that we have today. Listening to loud music regularly, watching videos etc. while using state of the art headphones and earbuds – they all subject us to noise exposure. We are now protected in all work places to help limit noise damage, but then we expose ourselves to excessive noise and in some cases this happens on a daily basis. Current headphones have much greater output than headphones in the past as they’re able to seal the sound in a user’s ear much better – this is great for sound quality but can be more damaging if listened to at a loud volume for long periods of time.
To combat this, understanding the possible dangers of this exposure is essential and indeed, the hearing apps offer a window into understanding your own hearing health better, be it a small glance, but still a reference point nonetheless. And a reference point is essential in being able to fully determine if someone has or is developing hearing loss, as spotting any trend can help action to be taken sooner.
The downside is that trendspotting is where these health apps fall short in regards to hearing health BUT it does engage people and helps form knowledge around the subject of hearing health. Seeing a fully trained Audiologist will enable an open discussion for your hearing health, they may spot a negative trend developing and feel that a full pure tone audiometry examination is required.
Most online hearing tests do not go into specifics about your hearing health, instead they focus on giving you an overview. You would be promoted to listen to a particular soft tone or sound and be asked questions about what problems you have with your hearing and a result will be instant – the whole thing usually takes no more than 3-5 minutes. The software will determine your hearing health based on how you’ve answered the pre-populated but relevant questions and how loud particular sounds had to be before you were able to hear them. This is nothing new nor revolutionary, this approach has been on a dedicated machine in opticians and hearing aid stores for over a decade – however they’re regarded as hearing screeners rather than a full hearing test. What makes the technology more relevant today though is its reachability – we all have access to these ‘hearing screeners’ on our smartphones and home computers and can test as many times as we’d like which makes it more likely to be fully truthful with our answers to the questions asked.
Ultimately, anything that helps keep the conversation around hearing loss going is a good thing. Having a gauge and minor monitoring only encourages a person to seek help at a much earlier time.
If you are concerned about your hearing test results or hearing in general you can book an initial phone consultation appointment with our in house team by clicking here.