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A Hearing Test You Can Take On The Phone

January 7, 2016

Hearing Test

Hearing TestHearing loss can have a negative impact on work. It can lead to social isolation. It can even contribute to dementia. And one-third of Americans 65 and older have some level of hearing impairment. Typically they wait years to get tested.

But there’s a scientifically validated hearing test that you can take over the telephone in the privacy of your home for just 5 bucks.

If you remember having a hearing test as a kid, well, this telephone test is nothing like that. The kinds of tests given by doctors and audiologists consist of a series of beeps or hums of various frequencies and volumes. These are called “pure tones.” But because of the huge variability in telephone instruments, this kind of test doesn’t work over the phone.

The hearing test that does work on the telephone takes a completely different approach. It’s based on your ability to pick out speech from a lot of background noise.

There’s a very high correlation between how you hear speech in a noisy room and your level of hearing loss as measured with pure tones in an office setting, says Dr. Charles Watson. He’s the principal investigator for the National Hearing Test, the formal name of the nonprofit organization that offers the telephone screening test.

“It’s a test intended to be very, very convenient,” says Watson. All you have to do is log on to the website and pay a $5 fee. (For a limited time, AARP members can take the test for free.) You’re then given a phone number to call and a 10-digit access code.

When you call, you’ll hear numbers embedded in a lot of static. You press the telephone keypad to show which numbers you heard. At the end you’re told if your hearing is in the normal range or if you have a slight or substantial impairment. You get a separate score for each ear.

Watson says the hope is that this low-hassle, low-cost test will encourage more people to get screened. Because, he says, most people with hearing loss are in denial.

Two Hearing Tests

In these clips you can hear the difference between a traditional hearing test, which uses beeps or hums, and the over-the-phone hearing test, which uses speech.

“They say, ‘My wife mumbles,’ and ‘All the restaurants have gotten too noisy these days’ and ‘My grandchildren don’t articulate.’ ”

Read More – Source: A Hearing Test You Can Take On The Phone : Shots – Health News : NPR

by: Ina Jaffe

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