A viral TikTok trend claims to tell you your hearing age. In the video (which as of today has had 16.8 million views) a high-pitched noise is played, starting at around 5800 Hz, which gradually gets higher and higher in pitch. As the frequency increases, a counter, starting at age 90, decreases. So when you can’t hear the high-pitched whistle any more, that, according to the video, is your hearing age. But is it accurate?
Unfortunately, the answer is ‘not really’.
Speaking on the TV programme Lorraine, Dr Hilary Jones, GP and Medical Advisor to Hidden Hearing, questioned the accuracy of the test for two reasons.
Firstly, you’d need no background noise to make this a fair test, which just isn’t feasible for most of us.
And secondly, it’s not addressing each ear separately, so won’t take into account if one ear is better than the other (i.e. it won’t detect any unilateral hearing loss).
But Dr Hilary wasn’t completely dismissive of the test, saying “If nothing else, it raises awareness for people about the importance of their hearing.
It’s a pretty rough test, but at least if someone says, ‘Oh, my hearing age is less than it should be,’ at least they can then go see a professional audiologist and get it tested in a booth, where there’s no background noise, testing one ear at a time at different volumes and frequencies.”
Dr Hilary also talked about the reluctance people have when it comes to getting their hearing tested, particularly older people who are at a higher risk of having some degree of loss.
“Even older people who are just getting natural age-related hearing loss, they’re very reluctant to go and get it sorted, so other people will notice. They’ll say things like: ‘Mum [or] Dad [or] Grandad, the TV’s really loud; the radio’s really loud, it’s deafening; you’re not hearing me, I’m having to repeat what I’m saying.’ Anybody with issues like that should be going to see an audiologist, getting a hearing test and seeing what treatments are available.”
And when asked about hearing aids, Dr Hilary was quick to highlight just how far technology has come. “Oh they’re amazing, they’re invisible. The technology is incredible. You can Bluetooth® them to your phone or your front doorbell. You can get rid of background noise, you can enhance the conversation with the person you’re talking to. So it’s well worth getting your hearing sorted, and not neglecting it.”
We have a five-minute online hearing test, designed specifically to give you a general idea of how well you can hear. It’s completely free and you can take it in the comfort of your own home.
It’s a great way to start thinking about your hearing health, but a full, in-depth hearing consultation, carried out by one of our highly trained hearing care experts is the only way to get a true understanding of how well you can hear. You can book your free test today, just follow the link.