Is hearing loss diagnosable online?

Although hearing loss is incredibly common, it can be difficult to notice in your day-to-day life.

By: Dr. Pickett of Greentree Hearing & Audiology

Is hearing loss diagnosable online?

Is hearing loss diagnosable online?

We live in an incredible era for technology, one where we can get near-instant access to information on almost any topic imaginable. The internet can teach us how to perform an oil change, edit a video or cook a soufflé and we can use technology to delve deep into a specific historical event or an unusual mathematics principal.

Digital resources have also changed the way medical information is accessible, which can have distinct advantages but also some cautionary disadvantages. On one hand, health information can help people recognize when they are experiencing symptoms of an illness, allergic reaction or other medical issue. It can help shape public health initiatives and disseminate wellness information.

On the other hand, having broadened health awareness can often get confused with possessing expertise. Health information gleaned from the Internet can be incidental or inaccurate, so it’s always important to determine the source from which information comes. Online quizzes and symptom checkers can help people self-evaluate their health, and alert them to possible health issues, but this evaluation should never be construed as a thorough diagnosis. Health issues, including hearing loss, require professional assessment to make a proper diagnosis as well as to determine the most appropriate course of treatment, if necessary.

Know the Signs of Hearing Loss

Although hearing loss is incredibly common, it can be difficult to notice in your day-to-day life. Signs of hearing loss often involve recognizing a lack of auditory information rather than a tell-tale sensory signal. Knowing the symptoms of hearing loss can therefore be a helpful tool in figuring out if you are having trouble hearing.

Something to keep in mind is that, with hearing loss, the people closest to you may be the first to notice if you have trouble hearing things – even before you do! This is usually because they can see you struggle to understand things they can hear clearly. If a friend or loved one talks to you about possible hearing issues you may have, take their concern seriously and schedule a hearing test. Similarly, if you notice a friend or relative often having problems with hearing sounds that you can hear well, talk with them about having their hearing tested.

Signs of hearing problems are often most noticeable in changes with how you hear human speech. With hearing loss, voices, especially high-pitched ones, can sound muffled and hard to interpret. Socially, it may start becoming difficult to follow a conversation with more than two people, and loud environments like restaurants or train stations can become sonically confusing.

Consistently maximizing the volume on phones, stereos and televisions should also be noticed as a sign of potential hearing trouble. If those around you are often asking you to lower the volume on sound, it’s probably a signal you are compensating for hearing issues with louder sounds.

Because hearing loss affects your ability to navigate social space, it can lead to self-isolation. If you find yourself skipping parties, concerts or other events you once enjoyed consider whether or not hearing loss may be playing a role in your decision.

Also, if you frequently experience tinnitus, a ringing in your ear or tonal interference with your hearing, you should have a hearing test. Tinnitus can be lasting or temporary but is almost always is a marker of damage to your hearing.

What’s In A Test?

Using online hearing tests is a resource that can help you learn if you are having trouble hearing sound, but it does not replace a full hearing evaluation. If you are taking self-administered Internet hearing tests, think about using them as a tool to help you recognize when you need to pursue more thorough hearing testing.

In-person tests with a hearing specialist give you a complete analysis of the state of your hearing. Your specialist can determine the specific sonic ranges where you experience trouble. If hearing loss is found, hearing specialists are trained to help you navigate the best treatment plan and find the right hearing device for your lifestyle and needs. Hearing specialists also do the work of fitting and programming hearing aids to best fit the profile of your hearing loss.

As we age, our hearing becomes more prone to issues. If you are over 65 years old, consider making an annual in-person hearing exam part of your wellness schedule, if you haven’t already. A regular annual hearing check can help detect hearing issues as soon as they arise.

Count on Greentree Audiology

At Greentree Audiology, we’re here to help you hear your best. Our audiologists specialize in offering you thorough, compassionate hearing healthcare. Greentree Audiology also offers a full selection of top brand hearing devices. If you think it may be time to have a hearing test, contact Greentree Audiology today for an appointment.

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Sherry Pickett, Doctor of Audiology
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