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Since its launch in 2017, over 50,000 people have taken the Audicus Online Hearing Test. The free test has proven useful to those starting to learn about their hearing loss, looking for a second opinion, or for those without mobility, insurance or access to a local specialist.

50,000 tests later. We wanted to look at the data, specifically between the self-reported signs or hearing loss takers chose before the test, and how they correlated to actual hearing loss. Doing this, we can better predict who will actually get a hearing loss result based only on the hearing loss signs they report.

Connecting the reported signs to the hearing loss results

During the test, users are asked: “Where do you usually have a hard time hearing? Select all that apply.” The options are:

  • While watching TV
  • While having a conversation indoors
  • In noisy environments
  • While listening to music
  • While I’m in a theater
  • When I’m on the phone
  • My hearing is fine, I’m just curious

The test takes about 20 minutes and tests each ear at 5 frequencies. Once complete, users are given a general score 1-5 (5 indicating little to no hearing loss), and a more detailed breakdown of each ear’s hearing ability by low to high tones.

Score 5 indicates little to no hearing loss, 4 is very mild, but those with scores of 2 or 3 have moderate to severe hearing loss. The question we had was: What signs do people who have hearing loss report most?

The top signs of hearing loss

Top 2 signs…

Drumroll please…The top signs reported by those with hearing loss results were difficulty hearing while watching TV and while having conversations indoors.

58.82% of those with hearing loss selcted trouble hearing the TV (twice as often as people who scored 4 or 5).

And 58% of those with hearing loss selected trouble hearing conversatoins indoors.

…and 2 secondary indicators

And while chosen less often overall, those who had hearing loss results were 2 times more likely to report difficulty hearing while listening to music and 3 times more likely to say they had difficulty hearing in a theater (watching a movie or play).

  1. Turning up the television
  2. Having trouble hearing during conversations
  3. Listening in noisy environments
  4. Listening to music
  5. Hearing during movies played in theaters

Selecting more than one hearing loss sign is also an indicator

79% of the online test takers who selected multiple signs of hearing loss went on to receive results of moderate to severe hearing loss. The great news is that majority of the hearing loss reported is treatable. The sooner you address any potential hearing loss, the more proactive you can be about treating and preventing further loss.

The red herring

While examining the hearing test results, Audicus found that hearing issues in “noisy environments” was the sign chosen most by those without hearing loss. In fact, it was chosen 4 times more by those without hearing loss. This may point to the fact that the world around us is getting noisier. We’ve seen great reporting on noise levels rising in restaurants.

So if you have a hard time hearing a conversation at a rowdy bar but have no issue hearing the TV, you may not have hearing loss. But because it happens gradually, getting a hearing test is the best way to know for sure.

If you are interested in seeing if you have signs of hearing loss, check out the free Audicus online hearing test today.

By: Diana Michel

Sources: Vox