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

125
 
250
 
500
 
1k
 
2k
 
4k
 
8k
 
             
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
             
10 10 10 10 10 10 10
             
20 20 20 20 20 20 20
             
30 30 30 30 30 30 30
             
40 40 40 40 40 40 40
             
50 50 50 50 50 50 50
             
60 60 60 60 60 60 60
             
70 70 70 70 70 70 70
-            
80 80 80 80 80 80
The table is organized as follows: each column relates to a frequency (125-8,000 Hz); each row relates to a hearing level (0-80 dBHL).

Due to restrictions in the dynamic recorded by the .wav file format, hearing tests in the lowest frequency range and/or above 80 dBHL cannot be performed online.

In a silent environment, play back these files one by one, vertically, from top to bottom (this is very important, see the warning below), starting from the first column. When the tones become audible, your hearing threshold level has been reached.

Always start with the top files first. The bottom files are for severe hearing loss, and will play very loud for a normal hearing person!

Interpret your results as follows:

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.

This hearing test uses pure tone stimuli. To confirm your results, check out myHearingTest.net: it relies on the same calibration protocol, but uses wable tones instead, and offers a neat audiogram printout feature!

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.

Related pages

Other Frequency Tests

External Links

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