Online Audiogram Hearing Test (125 Hz - 8 kHz)

Foreword

Our High Frequency Hearing Test was one of our first featured tests, back in 2007. Since then, it has become one of our most popular pages too. Originally, the test was intended to measure the highest frequency one can hear, assessing the very last octaves of our hearing and the frequencies that we are supposed to hear when we are young and in good health. We did not expect this test to be used as a regular hearing test. Although it can be effectively used to measure the upper limit of your hearing down to 8 kHz, it doesn't test the same frequencies as those measured by an audiologist.

Audiologists are interested in frequencies that are important for clear understanding of speech, not the frequencies that make high-fidelity audio recordings enjoyable. Their target frequencies reside in the 125-8,000 Hz range, generally not above that. This page's hearing test assesses the same frequency range.

Sound level calibration is a prerequisite to properly measuring hearing loss. Our hearing test is the only online hearing test we know of that offers you a way to calibrate your headphones or speakers, giving you the opportunity to reliably estimate your hearing loss. Use our test with confidence to confirm normal hearing, or a mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss. This test - like any other hearing test - requires a decent pair of headphones (good speakers will work too, although headphones are preferred), and a quiet environment.

Audiogram

Example of an Audiogram

An audiogram is a graph that shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different frequencies. It plots the threshold of hearing relative to an average 'normal' hearing. In this test, the ISO 389-7:2005 standard is used.

Levels are expressed in deciBels Hearing Level (dBHL). dBHL are not absolute but represent the difference between your hearing and the 'normal'.

If you score 0 dBHL, your hearing exactly matches the norm; higher values are signs of hearing loss. There are tolerances though: normal hearing is defined by thresholds lower than 15 dBHL at all frequencies, not strictly at 0 dBHL.

Calibration

Audiograms require a properly calibrated audio system. As we have no idea how loud your sound level has been turned to as you listen to our sound files, running an online audiogram test requires a trick. As imprecise as it is, it will be good enough to provide you with a rough estimate of your hearing loss, if any.

Calibration File

First, we need you to adjust your computer's level to match a known reference. Here is the trick: rub your hands together, in front of your nose, quickly and firmly, and try producing the same sound as our calibration file. You are now generating a reference sound that is approximately 65 dBSPL. As you play back our calibration file, adjust your computer's volume to match the sound level you just heard from you hands. Proceed back and forth - preferably with your eyes closed, to increase concentration - until both levels match. Then, do not touch your computer's volume knob anymore. Calibration is done: your computer's volume knob has been set to match 65 dBSPL. This procedure should give us a confidence of approximately 10 dBHL in the next hearing test.

Although headphones for this test are highly recommended, they must be taken off when listening to the reference sound made by your hands.

The sound files

Each frequency will be tested separately, at increasing levels. Always start with the quietest file (-5 dbHL) and stop when your hearing threshold level has been reached.

Files labelled 70 dBHL and above, are meant to detect severe hearing losses, and will play very loud for a normal hearing person!

Interpret your results as follows:

-5 dbHL: Outstanding hearing
0-10 dBHL: Normal Hearing
20-30 dbHL: Mild Hearing Loss
40-60 dBHL: Moderate Loss
70-80 dBHL: Severe Hearing Loss

If you have trouble hearing any of the higher dbHL files, confirm these results by visiting an audiologist.

125 Hz - The low end of male voices

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL
Due to restrictions in the dynamic range recorded by the .wav file format, the 125 Hz - 80 dBHL test cannot be performed online.

250 Hz - The low end of female voices

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

500 Hz - Low Midrange

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

1000 Hz - Midrange

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

2000 Hz - Upper Midrange

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

4000 Hz - Top of telephone bandwidth

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

8000 Hz - Sibiliance

-5 dBHL 0 dBHL 5 dBHL 10 dBHL 15 dBHL 20 dBHL
30 dBHL 40 dBHL 50 dBHL 60 dBHL 70 dBHL 80 dBHL

Reminder

-5 dbHL: Outstanding hearing
0-10 dBHL: Normal Hearing
20-30 dbHL: Mild Hearing Loss
40-60 dBHL: Moderate Loss
70-80 dBHL: Severe Hearing Loss

Warning

Although our test files have been carefully designed, results using this test cannot be considered as accurate as clinical data. If you are worried about your hearing, please consult your audiologist.

The hearing test featured on this page uses pure tone stimuli. To confirm your results, check out HearingTest.online : it relies on the same calibration protocol, but uses wable tones instead, and offers a neat audiogram printout feature!

Related pages

Other Frequency Tests

External Links

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