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5 Minute Hearing Test…especially for seniors


This quiz was field-tested on 71 older patients in five cities; audiograms were also run on them. Results showed that those whose quiz scores indicated a need to see a physician were confirmed, on the audiogram, as having a hearing impairment.

Mark the column that best describes the frequency with which you experience each situation or feeling.

5 Minute 
Hearing Test

Almost Always

Half the Time



1.  I have a problem hearing over the telephone.





2.  I have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time.





3.  People complain that I turn the TV volume too high.





4.  I have to strain to understand conversations.





5.  I miss hearing some common sounds like the phone or doorbell ringing.





6.  I have trouble hearing conversations in a noisy background such as a party.





7.  I get confused about where sounds come from.





8.  I misunderstand some words in a sentence and need to ask people to repeat themselves.





9.  I especially have trouble understanding the speech of women and children.





10.  I have worked in noisy environments (assembly lines, jackhammers, jet engines, etc.).





11.  Many people I talk to seem to mumble (or don’t speak clearly).





12.  People get annoyed because I misunderstand what they say.





13.  I misunderstand what others are saying and make inappropriate responses.





14.  I avoid social activities because I cannot hear well and fear I’ll replay improperly.





To be answered by a family member or friend:

15.   Do you think this person has a hearing loss?





Scoring: To calculate your score, give yourself 3 points for every time you checked the “Almost always” column, 2 for every “Half the time”, 1 for every “Occasionally”, and 0 for every “Never”. If you have a blood relative who has a hearing loss, and another 3 points. Then total your points.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommends the following:

0 to 5 — Your hearing is fine. No action is required

6 to 9 — Suggest you see an ear-nose-and-throat (ENT) specialist

10 and above — Strongly recommend you see an ear physician.

©1992. This leaflet is published as a public service. The material may be freely used so long as attribution is given to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc., Alexandria, VA