How do you know for sure if you have a hearing loss? With the gradual rate at which hearing loss typically develops, it can sometimes be hard to tell.
The following hearing self-assessment can help you consider the degree of difficulty you are experiencing with your hearing and whether or not you might need a more complete hearing evaluation with one of our doctors of audiology here at Lafayette Hearing Center. This test should be considered a “ballpark” estimate of your hearing abilities at best, and is in no way meant to take the place of a true diagnostic evaluation. This is a way for you to evaluate your hearing status in private to see if you need to take further action.
If you have any questions while taking the test, please give us a call at (765) 588-5556.
Beware, some of the audio tests tones can be damaging (excessively loud) if used improperly. You will be safe though by following the sound level calibration procedure and always starting by playing the quieter files first.
1. Calibrate your sound levels
Listen to the calibration audio file, then rub your hands together in front of your nose, quickly and firmly, and try producing the same sound.
At this stage, if you have trouble hearing the sound of your hands rubbing, you can be sure that you have a significant hearing loss. This test may be of little benefit to you and may not be worth your time to complete.
Adjust your computer’s volume so that both levels match. Once matched, do not change your levels anymore during the rest of the hearing test.
Although headphones are recommended for this test, be sure to take them off when listening to the reference sound made by your hands.
2. Listen to the individual test files
- In a silent environment, play back the individual hearing test files, starting from the top left corner file. Move down until a tone becomes (barely) audible, then switch to the next column. Each column represents a different pitch. Each row represents a different volume level. Volume increases as you move down the page for each column.
- Once you have navigated through all the columns, your audiogram is complete.
Always start with the top files. The bottom files are for severe hearing loss, and will play very loudly for a normal hearing person!
Stop with the file whose tone becomes just audible – not the file above or below – then switch to the next column.
3. Your Personal Audiogram
Your personal hearing thresholds should now appear on the audiogram below.
This graph is similar to what your audiologist’s system would produce during a hearing test, and plots the softest sounds you can hear across the different frequencies tested.
Ideally, the six markers should be located on the top of the graph, around the zero range. The next section explains the audiogram in detail.
Adorn your audiogram …
Click this → Overlay link to superimpose additional information on to your audiogram.
This overlay outlines the area related to conversational speech. It is in the shape of a banana and is often referred to as the “speech banana.” Vowels are located on the left side of the banana (the green area), and consonants are to the right (the blue area). Remember, all the sounds located above your individual hearing thresholds will be inaudible to you. If your personal markers are located inside (or worse, below) the speech banana, it means that your hearing will be missing part of the conversation, requiring your brain to compensate for this deficiency, by guessing words, for example.
Now click the→ Overlay link again.
This overlay depicts some familiar sounds of our everyday life, such as rustling leaves, birds chirping, water dripping and other common sounds.
To switch back to the first overlay, simply click the→ Overlay link again to wipe it clean, and once more to see the first overlay.