Tag: technology

Illustration of a silhouette of a human head with a brain - represented by a rain cloud - inside

Could Healthy Hearing Help People With Movement Disorders?

Your ears and your brain are fast friends. In fact, it seems like a new connection is reported every few months. There’s even a growing body of research showing that untreated hearing loss is linked to dementia.

That’s why we encourage annual hearing checkups. Catching changes in hearing early keeps a host of other issues at bay. And we’re just scratching the surface of what we know about the ear-brain connection.

Your ears and brain are so well connected, in fact, that one recent study in Scientific Reports is based on a link the researchers discovered on accident. It’s a link that could improve the assistive devices used by people with movement disorders or limb loss.

Brain-Computer Interfaces

A research team called BrainGate develops brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). These are implants that use nerve signals in the brain to manipulate assistive devices such as prosthetic limbs. Most BCI implants are put in a part of the brain that controls planning to act called the motor cortex. The BrainGate team wondered how workable it was to gather nerve signals earlier than that, though.

Could they use nerve signals from an area of the brain responsible for the simple urge to act — before the planning-to-act brain region gets involved? If so, they might be able to speed up BCI response times.

An Accidental Discovery

One clinical trial participant, because of a spinal cord injury, no longer had the use of his arms and legs. During a simple movement exercise that involved visual cues, his brain was monitored by fMRI. It showed activity in a certain area of this urge-to-act region of his brain.

They repeated the experiment with the BCI implant, instead of fMRI. To their surprise, the implant didn’t register activity in that same area. But while reviewing data from a related research session, they found something equally surprising. During the movement exercise, when they used verbal — not visual — cues, the implant picked up strong signals from that same urge-to-act area.

A Study With Only One Participant

To the BrainGate team, it seemed like this urge-to-act area didn’t care at all about visual cues, only sound-based cues. They designed a new study using the BCI implant to test their hypothesis. It had a sample size of only one — that same spinal-cord-injury participant mentioned above — and the research alternated between visual-only and sound-based-only cues.
They found that the urge-to-act area responded to sound-based cues but not to visual cues. They also found that the planning-to-act area responded to both, and had no preference either way.
The results were published in Scientific Reports in the article “Auditory cues reveal intended movement information in middle frontal gyrus neuronal ensemble activity of a person with tetraplegia.”

Why It Matters

The BrainGate team has some successes under their belt. People with spinal cord injury, brainstem stroke, and ALS have managed to control a computer cursor simply by thinking about the corresponding limb movement. In clinical research, they’ve managed intuitive control over advanced prosthetic limbs. Plus, people with paralysis have enjoyed easy control over powerful external devices.

By discovering that this urge-to-act area responds to sound cues, they can use it as a complement to the planning-to-act area, and BCI implants can gather movement data from two different regions of the brain. The researchers hope to one day use BCIs to enable reliable, intuitive, naturally controlled movement of paralyzed limbs.

And healthy hearing could be an important piece of this exciting puzzle.

The words NEW PRODUCT blasting through the bright blue background they're sitting on leaving a hot pink blast mark behind

Hearing Tech Roundup: 4 Gadgets We’re Giddy About

Hearing Tech Roundup: 4 Gadgets We’re Giddy About

We’re always on the lookout for ways to meet your needs even better than we already do. These days, the world of technology seems to most often fit the bill. And we’re excited about these boundary-pushing devices that provide effortless, clear connection.


ReSound ONE

“Breakthrough” and “groundbreaking” are tossed around a lot these days. Especially when talking technology. The ReSound ONE, though, earns its accolades and then some.

Today’s hearing aids help a lot. In fact, they’re amazing mini-supercomputers. But the microphones sit just outside or behind your ear — not in your ear canal — so your hearing isn’t as natural.

Until now. This one-of-a-kind hearing aid uses an extra microphone inside your ear canal. With your ear’s unique shape, it collects and funnels sound organically – as only your ear can. You hear the way you’re used to hearing.

With this technological breakthrough, only available in the ReSound ONE, you can:

  • Hear effortlessly anywhere, even in grocery stores and on windy walks
  • Stay connected no matter what on video calls with family and providers
  • Enjoy a sound ecosystem using wireless streaming accessories
  • Experience all-day power with one charge of these recharge-and-go hearing aids

Contact us to learn more about this groundbreaking organic hearing solution.


ReSound Key

ReSound Key features technology that allows your hearing aids to work together more efficiently, so you can focus on the sounds you want without losing touch with the sounds around you. And, with a full family of hearing aid models, there is a solution for virtually every lifestyle, preference, and budget.

With ReSound Key, you can also look forward to:

  • Hearing sounds clearly with less effort
  • Access to rechargeable hearing aid technology – no more tiny batteries
  • Direct streaming from compatible mobile devices
  • One easy-to-use app to individualize your sound experience
  • Optional wireless accessories to extend your hearing in any environment
  • Access to remote hearing care from the comfort and safety of your home

Whichever model you choose, ReSound always gives you a natural, individualized, and premium hearing experience, intuitively adapting to you and the environments in which you spend your time.


Oticon More

Oticon just introduced a brand-new hearing device that gives the brain more of what it needs to make better sense of sound, so you can get more out of life.

Oticon More hearing devices were developed to work more like how your brain works — they learn through experience. This is because Oticon More has the world’s first Deep Neural Network embedded in the chip.
As a result, Oticon More:

  • Delivers more sound to the brain
  • Increases speech understanding
  • Reduces listening effort so that you remember more of what is being said

With these devices, you can easily connect to your TV and catch a sporting event, show, or movie with your friends and family again. Plus, it’s powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts all day so you can talk on the phone or listen to music with confidence that your hearing device will keep up with you, even on the busiest days.


OrCam Hear

Recently OrCam, a company that develops assistive devices, showed off the OrCam Hear at CES 2021 in Las Vegas. So far they’ve focused on products for vision and dyslexia that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. Now they’ve entered the hearing space.

OrCam is a small wireless device that drapes around your neck on a string, and you pair it to your Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. It lip-reads and analyzes body gestures to determine which person you’re trying to hear, isolates their voice, and streams their speech to your hearing aids. It intuitively switches when it determines there’s a new speaker.

It comes out later this year, and a price isn’t determined yet. You can sign up to receive updates about the product launch.

Illustration of people adding app blocks to a larger than life smartphone

6 Smartphone Apps to Help Boost Your Communication

Want to feel even more connected to the world around you through the power of sound? There’s an app for that!

Actually, we’ve compiled a list of six apps that can help support your communication wellness.

    • 1. Live Transcribe

      This Google app for Android-powered smartphones doesn’t translate but does transcribe in-person conversations in real time. The program — developed with Gallaudet University, the renowned U.S. school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students — can turn speech from more than 70 languages and dialects into text on your phone’s screen in a matter of seconds, facilitating communication with quick, helpful captions. It even supports bilingual chats, letting you toggle between languages, and allows you to type your responses rather than speak them if so desired. Bonus: The app can also notify you of important sounds — the beep of a smoke alarm, for example — in your home.

 

    • 2. NIOSH Sound Level Meter

      Though it can’t replace professional instruments or expert opinion, this app uses your compatible mobile device’s built-in microphone to measure the sound level in your environment. On a global scale, some researchers estimate that 16 to 24 percent of hearing loss is associated with occupational noise. Excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss, making it important to know the sound levels where you potentially spend a lot of time — at work — so you can curb your risk. The app can also help approximate noise at stores, restaurants, or anywhere else you may need to protect your hearing.

 

    • 3. SoundWatch

      How does artificial intelligence right at your wrist sound? This exciting smartwatch-based application can alert you to the sounds around you, making daily life even easier. The application, developed especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, uses machine learning to alert the user to certain types of sounds they can preselect — a car honk, a cat’s meow, a baby cry, or running water, for example. It’s not for emergencies or other high-risk situations but could help enhance general awareness of your environment.

 

    • 4. Marlee Signs

      This app for children and adults teaches basic American Sign Language (ASL) with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf. ASL, common in the U.S. and Canada, offers a way to connect with others regardless of their hearing ability but can be especially useful for those who are or have friends or loved ones who are deaf or have a severe to profound hearing loss. Other ASL-instruction apps are also available, so consider using a few different ones to explore finger-spelling, conversational signing, building vocabulary, helping babies communicate, and more.

 

    • 5. SoundPrint

      This app takes noise measurement to a whole other level with its decibel meter coupled with the ability to upload results to the user community via a searchable database. Users can look for restaurants, gyms, subways, and other spots by categories such as “quiet,” “moderate,” “loud,” or “very loud” sound-level ratings. Like the NIOSH Sound Level Meter, SoundPrint doesn’t replace a professional device, but it may help approximate noise levels in a given space.

 

  • 6. AGX® Online Hearing Quiz

    OK, this one isn’t an app, but it’s just as convenient. The AGX Online Hearing Quiz — developed with audiology experts — takes only two minutes and provides a quick snapshot of your general hearing ability based on three broad aspects: the listening environment, the different tones you can hear, and your ability to hear speech amid noise. It doesn’t replace a true diagnostic hearing exam, but it will indicate if you can benefit from further testing.

As with any app, availability, functionality, and cost can change. The mobile apps listed above are free as of this writing, but compatibility with iOS- or Android- powered phones, tablets, or watches can vary per program, so be sure to read about them in the relevant online app store for more details.

Have questions about using apps with your hearing device? We’re here to help. Contact our caring team today!


Find Your Favorites

A whole world of apps awaits, so don’t hesitate to build your own list of healthy-hearing faves. Get started with these simple tips:

  • Search by keyword, developer name, app title, or product category to turn up results you may want to check out.
  • Carefully read the app description and system requirements. Some apps might also offer a demo you can preview before buying or downloading.
  • Learn what others think of the app by reading users’ comments and professional reviews that may be available online.
Lineup of new ReSound ONE and AGXrH Technology

New Technology – AGXr H: Empowered Hearing That Fits Your Life

We’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing AGXR H.

There’s nothing like the sounds that make your life unique. A favorite playlist. Your sweetheart’s laugh. The newscast you love listening to while whipping up your signature smoothie. In today’s world, however, hearing the sounds of your life can feel more challenging than ever.

It’s why we’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing AGXR H.

  • Get closer than ever to a natural hearing experience with the microphone and receiver-in-ear option, which positions a third microphone in your ear to collect sound the way nature intended.
  • Enjoy up to 30 hours of superior hearing on a single charge or up to 25 hours of battery life with unlimited streaming.
  • Stream phone calls, music, and other audio right to your ears — wirelessly. Even enjoy your TV favorites without having to change the volume for everyone else.
  • Experience tailor-made hearing with the AGX® Attune app, including one-tap sound adjustments, geotagged settings for optimal listening, and more.
  • Gain the convenience of face-to-face online hearing care and anytime remote fine-tuning — no office visit needed!
  • Communicate confidently with technology that gives you everything you need to process sound with greater depth and direction, including:

In today’s evolving world, hearing your best matters more than ever. So don’t wait. Contact us to schedule your hearing consultation and personalized AGXR H demo today. We’ve made a limited number of appointments available and can’t wait to see you!


AGXR H

The personalized hearing experience you’ve been waiting for:

  • More natural sound and improved sense of space
  • Easier-to-follow conversations in dynamic environments
  • Best 1:1 speech understanding

—————————————————————————————————————–

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Lineup of new ReSound ONE and AGXrH Technology

New Technology – ReSound ONE: Hear Like No Other

We’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing ReSound ONE.

There’s nothing like the sounds that make your life unique. A favorite playlist. Your sweetheart’s laugh. The newscast you love listening to while whipping up your signature smoothie. In today’s world, however, hearing the sounds of your life can feel more challenging than ever.

It’s why we’re excited about a new line of hearing technology that can help you hear the way you want — naturally. Introducing ReSound ONE.

  • Get closer than ever to a natural hearing experience with the microphone and receiver-in-ear option, which positions a third microphone in your ear to collect sound the way nature intended.
  • Enjoy up to 30 hours of superior hearing on a single charge or up to 25 hours of battery life with unlimited streaming.
  • Stream phone calls, music, and other audio right to your ears — wirelessly. Even enjoy your TV favorites without having to change the volume for everyone else.
  • Experience tailor-made hearing with the ReSound Smart app, including one-tap sound adjustments, geotagged settings for optimal listening, and more.
  • Gain the convenience of face-to-face online hearing care and anytime remote fine-tuning — no office visit needed!
  • Communicate confidently with technology that gives you everything you need to process sound with greater depth and direction, including:

In today’s evolving world, hearing your best matters more than ever. So don’t wait. Contact us to schedule your hearing consultation and personalized ReSound ONE demo today. We’ve made a limited number of appointments available and can’t wait to see you!


ReSound ONE

The personalized hearing experience you’ve been waiting for:

  • More natural sound and improved sense of space
  • Easier-to-follow conversations in dynamic environments
  • Best 1:1 speech understanding

Dining Out? Dish on the Noise With SoundPrint

Dining Out? Dish on the Noise With SoundPrint

RESOURCE ALERT: Enjoy Dinner Out and Hear the Convo

Do restaurants seem to be getting noisier? If you think so, you’re not alone. And, what’s more, researchers have reported a connection between hearing loud music and choosing more calorie-heavy menu options. No joke!

We’ve found an app that can help you take your power back.

Meet SoundPrint, which lets the online community weigh in on noise levels at various venues, so you can better decide where you want to enjoy a night out — without sacrificing your hearing health.

SoundPrint, compatible with Android and iOS phones, takes noise measurement to another level with its decibel meter coupled with the ability to upload results to the user community via a searchable database. You can look for restaurants, gyms, subways, and other spots by categories such as “quiet,” “moderate,” “loud,” or “very loud” sound ratings.

The app lets you measure the noise level while at a restaurant, add comments like “quieter during lunch,” then upload that data to SoundPrint. Anyone with the app can view SoundPrint’s database of noise levels and user comments, then make an informed decision about which restaurants might pose a problem.

Though SoundPrint doesn’t replace a professional device, it may help approximate noise levels in a given space.

Oh, and about that research linking noise and food selections? The study, “Ambient Music and Food Choices: Can Music Volume Level Nudge Healthier Choices?” involved a series of field and lab investigations that turned up some interesting findings:

  • Lower-volume music, which can have a relaxing effect, leads to healthier food choices such as salad.
  • Higher-volume sounds, which can induce excitement and stress, inspire less wholesome picks like burgers and fries.

Who knew that curbing the volume could support not only your better-hearing goals but healthy eating too?

Destigmatizing Hearing Loss: It Affects People of All Ages

Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages

When you think about eyeglasses, what do you think of? Most likely your own pair or those of loved ones. If you’re more fashion-minded, you might even think about that funky pair you saw recently on one of your favorite celebrities. You definitely don’t think of old age.

But what about when you think of hearing aids? Probably a different story.
 

A PR Problem

In the United States, 14 million people 12 years or older have a visual impairment. Thirty million people 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears — that’s one out of every eight people.

Both eyeglasses and hearing aids correct a sense impairment — so why are eyeglasses a fashion statement, but it takes, on average, seven years for someone to even get their hearing tested after noticing a hearing loss?
 

Hearing Loss Affects All Age Groups

The idea that hearing loss is something that happens to people in their old age simply isn’t true. Significant numbers of people across all generations experience some degree of hearing loss.
 

Children
  • 2 to 3 of every 1,000 U.S. babies are born with a detectable hearing loss
  • 1 in 5 U.S. teens has some degree of hearing loss
  • 1 in 8 U.S. kids ages 6 to 19 has hearing loss from using earbuds to listen to music at unsafe volumes
  • Over 90 percent of U.S. children born with hearing loss have parents with no hearing loss>/li>
Young adults

According to a World Health Organization report, 50 percent of millennials risk hearing loss because of damaging volumes via personal audio devices; 40 percent do so via noisy entertainment venues such as concerts.

Adults
  • About 1 in 7 U.S. adults ages 20 to 69 has hearing loss
  • 22 percent of U.S. adults are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work
  • About 1 in 10 U.S. adults experiences tinnitus (a ringing, pulsing, or buzzing only they can hear)
  • About 90 percent of tinnitus cases have accompanying hearing loss
Service members
  • 3 in 5 returning service members experience hearing loss
  • Among both active and veteran service members, hearing loss and tinnitus are the most reported health issue
  • 50 percent of all blast-induced injuries result in permanent hearing loss
  • Hearing loss among service members has become a big enough problem that the Department of Defense spearheaded an interactive course that provides early and ongoing hearing loss-prevention training

 

Normalizing Hearing Loss

Clearly, hearing loss is even more prevalent than vision problems. And it leaves no age group untouched. But the stigma remains, such that only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing technology actually uses it.

But there’s a growing online trend of people discussing their lives with hearing loss — many of them millennials or slightly older — in an attempt to remove the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids.

  • Living With Hearing Loss is written by Shari Eberts, who was recognized as a HearStrong Champion for her tireless work to change the stigma surrounding hearing loss.
  • The Invisible Disability and Me is written by a woman with a cochlear implant who hopes to raise awareness of and support those who’ve experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Cosmopolitan magazine’s brand connection to millennial women is so strong that it launched a Cosmo Millennial Advisory Board staffed with millennials who are experts in their fields; Cosmopolitan regularly features articles about life with hearing loss, covering topics from dating with hearing loss to becoming a NASA engineer despite having been born profoundly deaf.
  • The Twitter page Normalize Hearing Loss is “on a mission to normalize hearing loss and hearing aids and other tech the way we’ve normalized glasses,” and encourages users to include @NormalizeHL or #NormalizeHearingLoss in their tweets.

 

Hearing Tech for Today’s Connected Culture

What’s more, the hearing technology of today is a far cry from the hearing aids of 50 years ago. The digital tech of today is sleek and discreet, minimizes background noise, improves speech clarity in complicated sound environments, and focuses on what’s in front of you rather than taking in and amplifying all sounds equally.

Plus, hearing devices are becoming as connected as everything else. You can stream audio wirelessly from your mobile device to your hearing aids, geotag the hearing aid settings for your favorite locations, even hear a phone call in both ears simultaneously — and control it all on the sly with a smartphone app!


Sources:
Fang Ko et al. Prevalence of Nonrefractive Visual Impairment in U.S. Adults and Associated Risk Factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. JAMA: 2012;308(22): 2361–2386. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019.

Hearing Aids: 5 Fun Facts on What These Powerful Devices Can Do

Some individuals might not realize how far technology has come to make communication easier than ever. We’ll provide you with some facts about hearing aids.

Did you know? Fewer than one out of three adults 70 and older who could benefit from hearing aids actually uses them, per the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the rate plunges to just 16 percent among those 20 to 69.

The reasons for these stark statistics may vary, but what’s clear is that disabling hearing loss — a serious public health issue affecting approximately 466 million people worldwide — is undertreated on a global scale.

Some individuals who need hearing help might not realize how far technology has advanced to make communication easier and more empowering than ever, even in some of the most challenging listening situations.

Check out these five fun facts you may not have known about hearing devices:

  1. Like Elephants, They “Remember”

    Want the same great listening experience at your favorite — but noisy — food spot every time you get together with family and friends? Options vary across different product lines, but some AGX® Hearing devices offer a “restaurant” setting that cuts background noise, or you can create your own geotagged “memory” with sound settings tailored to specific locations for a consistent experience.

  2. Built-In Mics Put You in Control

    When a room or other venue contains competing sounds, you need a way to focus on the audio you actually want to hear. You can use your AGX hearing aid’s directionality function to focus the device’s microphones on the conversation in front of you, for example, versus the noise or other sounds behind you.

  3. They Play Well With Other Devices

    Hearing impairment can make it difficult to track who’s saying what in group discussions — for instance, a brainstorming session at work. A wireless Bluetooth® microphone, set in a central spot during the conversation, can send speech directly to your hearing aid! During more personal gatherings, your conversation companions can take turns placing the mic on their lapel while speaking.

  4. You Can Stream Like a Champ

    Speaking of playing well with other devices: Many hearing aids today let you transmit audio from your television, stereo, or smartphone to your hearing tech — whether streaming directly or with the help of a wireless accessory called a “streamer” that clips to your collar. Laugh along with your favorite TV comedy series, enjoy the latest tunes, or video chat on your smartphone with clarity and confidence.

  5. They Make Good Fitness Buddies

    Some cutting-edge hearing aids not only offer great sound, speech clarity in noise, and audio streaming from your smartphone but also track brain and body health using artificial intelligence. With the AGXs liv, for example, you control your programs, settings, and streaming while the Thrive™ Hearing app records your health data and provides three wellness scores, helping you track your fitness goals.

 


Want a closer look at what today’s modern technology can do for your hearing health and enjoyment? Contact us to schedule your FREE demonstration today! Our caring team can’t wait to show you how far hearing aids have come.
 

How Hearing Aids Work

If you or someone you know has hearing technology, you understand how life-changing it can be, leading to even stronger connections to loved ones and a renewed vigor for life. But have you ever stopped to wonder just how those amazing little life-changers work?

It might surprise you to know that the basics haven’t changed over the last several hundred years. Let’s start with the ear trumpet.

The Ear Trumpet

All things considered, the ear trumpet was a decent alternative to hearing loss. How did it work? It:

  • Collected sound waves
  • Amplified the sound waves by making them more orderly and concentrated
  • Funneled the amplified sound waves into your ear canal

After that, the amplified sound waves traveled to the eardrum and beyond, where hearing happened. How does that compare to today’s hearing aids?

The Modern Hearing Aid

Today’s hearing aids work on the same principles. Just like the ear trumpet, today’s hearing aid:

  • Collects sound waves
  • Amplifies the sound waves
  • Funnels the amplified sound into your ear canal

After that, the amplified sound waves travel to your eardrum and beyond, where hearing happens.
 

There are two major differences, however, between the ear trumpet and today’s hearing aids: digital technology and the expertise of an experienced provider. Let’s take a look.

  • Directional microphones

    Many modern hearing aids have directional microphones, which means they determine — in the moment — which sounds belong to your conversation partner and focus on those sounds, rather than all the other background noise.

  • Digital processor

    Many hearing devices come with a digital chip that optimizes the sound quality by, for example, reducing background noise, canceling feedback, and reducing the noise caused by wind blowing across your hearing device.

  • Multichannel amplifier

    Today’s amplifiers can analyze incoming sound based on your specific hearing needs and then amplify (or reduce) the volume accordingly. For example, it can boost the volume of your child’s voice while leaving the sound of your neighbor’s truck engine as is. In many ways, it’s like the equalizer channels on a stereo, only more sophisticated!

  • Binaural processing

    This is a fancy way to say your hearing aids communicate with each other. This keeps them working in sync, and it means you can stream audio from one hearing aid to the other (for example, you can hear a phone call from your smartphone in both ears at the same time).

  • Remote, discreet adjustments

    Many hearing devices today can pair with an app on your smartphone. Depending on the make and model of hearing tech, you can use the app to control volume and settings, set program preferences for favorite locations, and even stream audio from your smartphone directly to your hearing devices.

  • Experienced provider

    At every step in your better-hearing journey, your provider takes into account your hearing lifestyle. Do you go to concerts? Or do you spend a lot of time in the library? Each lifestyle requires a specific technology with deft, nuanced programming considerations. Your provider ensures everything is in order and meets your ever-evolving hearing needs.


Same Ol’ Story

As you can see, the more hearing care stays the same, the more it changes. No matter the method we use at each step, tech will only get more sophisticated as the years go by. What might hearing technology look like in the year 2060?

Online Hearing Tests: Can They Help?

Several online or app-based home hearing tests have been developed. Researchers have been studying how well work compared to a professional hearing test.

From blood-pressure kiosks in retail stores and vision exams online to home kits that test for HIV, blood-sugar levels, colon cancer, and more, the do-it-yourself approach to health screening continues to expand as the demand for greater convenience and consumer empowerment grows. Even online hearing tests are a part of the DIY mix, but do they work? What role can they play in ensuring your optimal hearing health?

Let’s take a closer look, including the pros, the cons, and the bottom line for keeping your hearing in top shape.

Some Pros

Imagine being able to accomplish anything and everything from the comfort of your own home. Sounds pretty convenient, right? We’re not quite there on a global scale, but quality online hearing tests could help you take a first step toward better hearing health without even leaving the house.

People take an average seven years to make a provider appointment after suspecting they may have a hearing loss, so imagine how much sooner they might seek professional help if they could make that first move — a hearing test — at home. It’s simple, free, discreet, relatively quick, and can potentially estimate your current hearing ability.

Several online or app-based home hearing tests have been developed, and researchers have been studying how well they compare to similar tests given in a hearing-care professional’s sound booth. Results have varied, depending on factors such as the specific DIY platform tested.

Some Cons

Even the most reliable online hearing test — one that potentially could determine your basic hearing threshold and indicate your degree of hearing loss — can be misinterpreted without the expertise to understand what the findings mean or how and why you have the potential impairment.

For example, a hearing loss could be caused by something as simple as a foreign object in your ear canal, or it could be a sign of issues in the areas of your brain that process sound. In either case, you may be unaware of the underlying problem, but heading to a big-box retailer to buy hearing aids won’t solve it.

Online testing also doesn’t provide the comprehensive evaluation you need for a more complete look at your hearing wellness:

  • Some online hearing screenings may use the pure-tone air-conduction threshold test, for instance, in which each ear is played a series of sounds through earphones, and you indicate whether you can hear each respective tone. The test measures the quietest sound you can reliably hear at least 50 percent of the time — the threshold. This important data, however, only scratches the surface. It doesn’t explain how well you hear speech, how well you understand it, or whether the hearing loss is due to an injury in your ear.
  • In addition to a battery of important tests that measure elements such as pure-tone air and bone conduction, speech and word recognition, tympanometry and acoustic reflexes, comfortable listening levels, the threshold of discomfort, and more, professional examinations include an inspection of your ears and an intake of your medical and hearing-health history.

The Bottom Line

A reliable home hearing test can serve as an important wake-up call in your hearing health. If you’re on the fence about hearing care, it’s an easy way to find out whether you potentially have hearing loss, which is best addressed by a trained, licensed professional.

Keep in mind, however, that a home hearing test shows you a symptom — it doesn’t pinpoint the underlying problem or provide solutions for your unique needs. An audiologic evaluation gathers nuanced data about not only your auditory system but ways to improve your specific hearing difficulties.


Your auditory system is complex, and so is the combination of people and environments that creates your unique listening lifestyle. If you’re noticing difficulty communicating in your everyday activities or took an online test that indicated potential hearing loss, don’t wait. Contact our caring team for a comprehensive evaluation today.