Assessing Hearing Yourself


Anchor lead: New technologies will help everyone make sense of their own hearing ability, Elizabeth Tracey reports

New hearing devices are poised to enter the market as a change enacted by Congress will allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, and are expected to be dramatically less expensive than those sold now. Frank Lin, a hearing expert at Johns Hopkins and advocate for making hearing numbers as well known as blood pressure numbers, says smart phones will help, too.

Lin: Now with the current smartphone technology we have now, with the microphones, people could actually get a pretty good darn measure of their own PTA, at home with their own cell phone. Whereas before you had to visit an audiologist, get a measure, but increasingly we’ve been getting a measure with apps and some of them are actually quite good. Rather than being an exact number it might be off by about five. It’s not perfect but plus or minus five is like not terrible. Really the next year it’s all converging. It actually makes these numbers become accessible, and actionable and useful.  :32

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.