You Can Now Detect Hearing Loss At Home Thanks To Advances In Technology

You Can Now Detect Hearing Loss At Home Thanks To Advances In Technology
Image: iStock/mladenbalinovac

This article is sponsored by Blamey Saunders Hears.

When was the last time you got your hearing checked out? Recently? A while ago? Never? According to Blamey Saunders Hears’ CEO Michelle Lawson: “The hearing industry has spent a cumulative millions, if not billions, of dollars in educating the public that untreated hearing loss leads to social isolation, depression and early-onset dementia. Yet it still takes people almost a decade to act.”

What most people don’t realise about hearing loss is that it creeps up on you, slowly building over time. You may be suffering from some degree of hearing deterioration already, you just may not have realised it.

Diagnosing the problem sooner rather than later is incredibly important in maintaining and restoring your hearing. The longer you’re unable to hear a full range of sounds, the more likely it is that you’ll lose the ability to interpret sounds altogether. If the deterioration has progressed too far, even the best aids may not be able to help you fully restore your hearing.

Getting the help you need

If you want to check that your hearing is okay, you’d normally go to a hearing clinic for an audiogram test. However, in our current social climate, heading to a clinic isn’t as simple as it once was.

One of the many ways COVID-19 has affected our day-to-day living is that it’s increased demand for telehealth services. People are understandably hesitant when it comes to public settings, not to mention medical centre waiting rooms, and there’s a greater desire to receive advice via a phone or video call.

When it comes to hearing assessments, Blamey Saunders Hears have been providing a convenient telehealth service, known as teleaudiology, since 2011. This direct line means instant access to care or advice regarding audiology, technology troubleshooting, and hearing aid fine-tuning. Beyond social distancing, these teleaudiology services can provide important hearing care to those living in remote or rural areas, along with those who are unable to leave their homes.

“It’s now normal for people to want to self-manage health conditions, and to have an active involvement in decision making,” Lawson explains. “The desire for self health management will motivate clients, and creating distance supported solutions will ensure support is always accessible.”

Take the test

If you’re unsure about the quality of your hearing but you can’t, or won’t, come into a clinic, what can be done? One option is to use Blamey Saunders’ Speech Perception Test, which is a quick, user-friendly teleaudiology service. Accessible through their website, the SPT is clinically validated and designed to test your ability to perceive certain speech features such as sibilance, affrication, and vowel length.

Speech Perception Test results.

The test plays a series of 50 randomised, phonetically balanced English words, one at time. You then type out what you hear. Depending on your results, it may be recommended that you seek medical advice for hearing loss, along with information you can use to pre-program hearing aid settings should they be required. The test has shown to be “a highly effective tool for the detection and measurement of hearing loss and hearing aid fitting.”

Act sooner, rather than later

There are small signs that your hearing is beginning to deteriorate. You might be bumping up the volume to your TV or computer a bit more, or maybe you’ve had a few problems hearing conversations in certain environments. Are people mumbling more, or are you just struggling to make out what they’re saying?

If you’ve been meaning to get your hearing checked out, now is the perfect time to do so. You may not have realised the damage that’s already been done. For anyone over the age of 15, prolonged exposure to anything over a decibel range of 65dB, which is roughly equivalent to the sound of a vacuum running, is enough to severely affect your hearing in the long run.

Your hearing is important, and the sooner you can diagnose any potential problems, the better. So don’t keep putting off a hearing assessment until it’s too late, because the results might surprise you.