Hearing loss may not have been something that you wanted (or needed) to address, until now. The great thing about the web is you can find pretty much anything online, including online hearing tests.
COVID-19 has transformed how we work and connect with friends and family. Many of us are now working from home and have become reliant on online services such as Zoom or Skype for staff meetings. Consequently, you may be one of many people who have realised that you can no longer rely on lip-reading when you’re speaking to people in your office.
What causes hearing difficulties?
There are a number of reasons that you might lose your hearing. You might also be someone who suffers from Tinnitus. Tinnitus is the very annoying buzzing or ringing in the ears. It makes life uber stressful when you are trying to concentrate yet all you can hear is high pitched ringing!
Embarrassment or loss of status (essentially the same reasons for not getting any medical check!) usually prevent us from seeking help. Ultimately, you have to weigh up if it is worth throwing away your career potential or isolation from friends and family because you are too embarrassed to seek help.
How is your hearing tested?
For those who are not ready to admit to experiencing hearing loss, you can test your hearing online. Here is a list of free online hearing tests. You will need headphones to do the tests properly:
1. Amplifon.com: the test takes you through six different (noisy) scenarios and you are asked a question after each scenario. Results are sent to you by email.
2. Boots Hearingcare: this test takes you through a series of sounds and you increase or decrease the sounds until you hear them.
3. Specsavers audiologists: this test is the same as the Boots Hearingcare test
4. Scrivens Hearing: you will be asked some introductory questions and then your hearing is tested using different high pitched sounds
5. Online test and audiogram printout: This is one of the best online hearing tests on the web. Using headphones you can test hearing in your left, right or both ears. Once you have completed the test, you can save or print your audiogram (a graph that shows your level of hearing loss). The website, created by Dr Stephane Pidgeon has lots of fantastic information about the hearing test.
What if I need a hearing aid!?
We’ve only listed 5 online tests but please bear in mind that any result will indicate that you need to get your hearing tested properly. You can get your hearing tested through the NHS. If you have a moderate level of hearing loss, the NHS will also issue free hearing aids. The NHS also provide aftercare free of charge.
Of course, you can also pay for hearing aids privately. The cost of hearing aids differs considerably depending on the hearing aid manufacturer. You also have to factor in any aftercare costs and insurance to cover loss or damage to your hearing aids.
Do I say anything at work?
If you have hearing loss, your employer is legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.
Many employees are reluctant to say anything to their colleagues or managers at work. However, any responsible company will research how to support employees with hearing loss and may even invest in Deaf Awareness training.
The key message is to get your hearing tested, put your ability to communicate effectively at the top of your agenda, maintain your confidence and progress your career. Your ears will thank you for your efforts!