Life seems to be busier than ever before. With work, kids’ activities, appointments, shopping, errands and more, it can seem like there’s never enough time. It’s easy to let some things fall by the wayside or find quicker ways to get them done. That includes hearing tests.
With some of the new alternatives starting to pop up, you may ask yourself, “Do I really need to schedule a hearing evaluation with a professional?”
While these quick and easy substitutions may offer some information, health experts recommend they shouldn’t be a replacement for the real thing.
Technology meets hearing health
Like so many other areas of our lives, technology is becoming an integral part of the hearing healthcare industry in more ways than one. From improved hearing evaluations from your hearing healthcare provider to advanced hearing aids to 3D printed ear molds and apps to help you find quieter restaurants and bars, hearing technology is rapidly advancing.
Some of the newest technology, such as that available through digital assistant Alexa, is even trying to simplify, streamline and save time by allowing users to test their hearing from home. At least as a first step in the process of diagnosing hearing loss.
How am I hearing, Alexa?
Chances are you’ve heard of Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant designed to help you with everything from setting timers to making dinner reservations to searching up answers to obscure facts all with a simple voice command.
Now, UK company Amplify Hearing has also launched a Hearing Screener available through Alexa. When a user requests the Hearing Screener, they are taken through a series of spoken phrases and frequency tones to help detect a hearing loss. If the screener detects a hearing loss, the user is directed to a local hearing health professional for a hearing evaluation.
“Early identification of changes in hearing and/or ear health, can lead to improved outcomes with hearing technology further down the line,” said Christina Porter, audiology partner at Amplify Hearing said. “We can also vastly improve relationships, social inclusion and general well-being when we look after our hearing properly.”
A first step, not a replacement
While technology like this is an exciting way to reach millions of people who may not otherwise realize they have a hearing loss, hearing health care professionals stress that screenings like these should not replace a regular hearing evaluation with a professional.
The Alexa Hearing Screener and other hearing screening apps such as the hearAmerica app may alert users to a general hearing loss, a full hearing evaluation determines:
- Type of hearing loss
- The extent of hearing loss
- Whether the hearing loss is in one or both ears
- If there is an underlying condition that should be addressed by a physician
However you uncover your hearing loss, treatment is essential to manage existing loss and preventing further loss. Work with a hearing healthcare professional to determine the best options for your hearing loss.
Have you used the Alexa Hearing Screening and found a hearing loss? Contact our office to schedule a full hearing evaluation to learn more and get treated.