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Healthy Hearing debuts online hearing check

Contributed by , staff writer for Healthy Hearing

If you're searching for an online hearing test, chances are you suspect you have hearing loss. You're not alone. More than 36 million  American adults report some type of hearing loss, especially those over the age of 65. Unlike poor eyesight, many with hearing loss are reluctant to visit a hearing health professional. Online hearing tests make it easy for individuals to test their hearing in the privacy of their own home before they make an appointment to see a hearing health professional.

That's one of the reasons Healthy Hearing is debuting our own online hearing check - with a twist. Because hearing loss is a trait we share with certain breeds of man's best friend, we've designed our test results to coincide with the same levels of hearing loss experienced by our four-legged, furry friends.

"We don't want to make light of hearing loss," Amanda Tonkin of Healthy Hearing said, "but we do want to give this highly charged topic a broader appeal. Relating our online hearing check results to how dogs hear is a fun way for individuals of all ages to assess their hearing health."

sample question
This is one example of a question that appears on the
Healthy Hearing online hearing check.

You'll find a badge for Healthy Hearing's online hearing test on our home page. This quick online hearing check will help you  or a loved one gauge hearing ability based on responses to 12 different questions. Many of these are questions require a simple click of a box, either "often," "sometimes" or "rarely." Additionally, we know you want this to be an easy process, so our online hearing check won't require you to calibrate computer speakers or use a microphone. All you need is to be able to check a box!

Once you answer the questions, you'll be presented with your results page. This page will tell you what canine companion you're hearing ability is most akin to and how many symptoms or conditions of hearing loss you have indicated. Not only will you have a better idea of your hearing health, you'll also be able to email your results or post them to Facebook and Twitter. Your post will help spread the word about better hearing health and provide a link directly to the Healthy Hearing online hearing check so your friends and family can take it, too!

How does our hearing stack up against our canine friends?

Did you know Dalmatians are predisposed to deafness? Only 70 percent of them have normal hearing. They share a susceptibility to deafness with 30 other breeds, such as the Australian shepherd, Boston terrier and cocker spaniel. Additionally, dogs with "floppy" ears, or ears that hang over their ear canal, often have more hearing issues than others simply because of the moisture build-up and extra layer blocking their hearing from the outside world. 

Other canines - such as bull terriers - fair a little better than Dalmatians on the hearing health spectrum. Even though they are active, loving and loyal pets, nearly 18 percent of bull terriers have unilateral deafness. 

Other breeds have average hearing, like Poodles. They have narrow ear canals, which makes their ears prone to wax buildup and susceptible to conductive hearing loss.

Labrador retrievers are known for having good eyesight and hearing ability, which - in addition to their easy going nature - make them excellent and very common sight and hearing assistance dogs.

Of course, some breeds like German shepherds have seemingly super-sonic hearing. Did you know German shepherds can hear frequencies up to 1.5 miles away? That's one reason they are so ideal for police work. 

Why should I post my results on social media?

Amazingly, there are more devices connected to the internet than there are people on the planet. More than one billion people are registered to Facebook alone; 552 million of them are daily users. Posting your test results on social media can help us spread the word about hearing health and encourage your social media circle to protect and monitor their hearing health - beginning with Healthy Hearing's online hearing check.

Most hearing loss is treatable and the sooner it's detected, the easier it is to preserve the hearing you have left. Studies indicate early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can slow the progression of hearing loss and maintain brain function. Early diagnosis of hearing loss for infants and young children can increase their abilities to communicate and learn at the same pace as normal hearing peers.

This is especially significant for the younger generations who are enjoying the benefits of owning personal electronic devices. Aside from aging, noise-induced hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), more than 26 million Americans between the ages of 15-69 have some form of noise-induced hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities. The good news is, this type of hearing loss is completely preventable. Unlike our canine companions, we can conserve our hearing health by learning to avoid noisy environments whenever possible, protect our hearing with ear plugs or ear muffs when it isn't, and turn down the volume on our televisions, car stereos and other personal electronic devices.

Regardless of your test results, we encourage everyone to get a baseline hearing test from a licensed hearing health professional. And because we think its important, your test results will provide you with contact information for three hearing healthcare providers in your area. If you have excellent hearing or above average hearing, a complete hearing test can give you a baseline from which to monitor your hearing health. If your results indicate you may have below average hearing or poor hearing ability, a hearing health professional can determine what is causing it and provide you with the best treatment options.

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