Over 1 in 10 Americans have some kind of hearing loss but only about half have had their hearing tested. There are two main reasons for this: First, hearing tests can be costly ($70 - $150) and are often not covered by insurance. Second, impaired hearing is often associated with old age, so people often deny signs of hearing loss and delay testing in order to avoid feeling stigmatized by the diagnosis. But now, anyone in the U.S. can test their hearing with a simple, free phone call.
The Innovative Phone Test
A collaboration between the Indiana University Bloomington and VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, this test allows people to test their hearing using a landline phone. Instead of listening to pure tones in different frequencies as in a normal auditory test, this phone test includes a voice saying three numbers over a background noise. The user then types in the numbers through the phone keypad.
When a series of three numbers is identified correctly, the next series will be buried under more background noise and conversely when a series of numbers is identified incorrectly, the next series will have reduced background noise. After the test, the result for each ear is given in one of three categories: within the normal range, slightly below the normal range, and poor. If both ears are not “within the normal range,” then the test recommends a full auditory check-up by a professional.
Hearing Loss Doesn’t Just Affect the Elderly
Although this phone test has only been heavily marketed to older people, it can be used by people of all ages and backgrounds. Anyone who has noticed signs of hearing loss, such as turning the TV volume louder than others or often asking others to repeat themselves, are recommended to take the test. Young adults who work in loud environments—including musicians, construction workers, airport workers, railroad workers, etc.—are at a much higher risk of incurring significant hearing loss and should check their hearing regularly.
This phone test is not a replacement for a full auditory check up; if your results are not “within the normal range” or you suspect that you have hearing loss, it is still recommended that you go to a professional for a follow up.
To stay updated and learn more about hearing loss, check out FindHearingAids.com. If you or anyone you know has taken the auditory test or has suspected hearing loss, please contact us today for more information about hearing restoration and hearing aids. We will help you find the best auditory specialist near you.