By Guido Knook
Why is a predictive hearing test so important? Well, let's start with your gums. Your gums are the best way to predict whether you’re suffering from cardiovascular disease. Isn’t that surprising? It’s not that your gums are the best biomarkers for cardiovascular disease, there are probably much easier ways. The reason that gums work so well, is that we all go to the dentist every half year (or at least most of us do). This is the most regular and consistent health checkup that most of us get, making it easy to detect small changes in your physiological state. Being able to detect those small changes means you can catch such a disease early on. This can mean the difference between a fatal heart attack and continuing to live until you’re 100.
The predictive hearing test is the future
With our predictive hearing test, we’re setting the first steps towards preventative hearing healthcare. Generally the healthcare system is moving away from just treatment towards prevention. The predictability of afflictions is important to establish that. This does not only mean early diagnosis (which can be crucial), it also means that we get a much better handle on how to be preventive as we can find and measure leading indicators.
When was the last time you took a hearing test? While you might be aware about your eyes getting worse, you might not realise your hearing ability can decrease as easily. We think it’s important to track hearing ability so that changes can be detected, and acted upon early, before deteriorations would otherwise be noticed in daily life., so that you don’t lose more of your hearing.
Our new predictive hearing test brings the latest science directly to your smartphone. While the industry standard for hearing tests hasn’t changed much, our new hearing test methodology is well established in science but has never been used on a broad scale in audiology practice. Specifically:
- We’ve innovated the way we measure your hearing thresholds. Instead of measuring 6 distinct frequencies in each ear, we now measure a range from 100hz to 12khz. Through this we know more broadly how you hear, which is especially important for adapting your music listening experience.
- We’ve also worked on several advanced tests, which go beyond measuring your sensitivity to individual frequencies (your pure-tone thresholds). Pure-tone thresholds tell you what you cannot hear, but give little information as to why. Our new tests target aspects of auditory function that paint a more complete picture about what is happening inside your ear (these will be introduced in future versions, around April). This will help us to understand how the loss of sensitivity develops and gives us the potential to detect the onset hearing loss, and those at risk of hearing loss earlier than would have otherwise been possible.
- We have made it easier to compare various hearing tests that you’ve done and also made it easy to schedule reminders to take hearing checkup tests.
By tracking an individual's hearing over time, and specifically looking at the delta between measurements (i.e. how do they change over time), Mimi can expand its knowledge about hearing. Regularly checking your ears might, however, not feel very intuitive. I mean, how much does your hearing really change in half a year? Still, even the slightest of changes might help us discover interesting patterns. This is exactly why taking regular hearing tests over time is so important.
Continuous health tracking with superior tests means that we’ll get a unique perspective on your hearing health, and everybody’s hearing in general. Using the Mimi Hearing Test you'll become a proverbial data donor, which means that you will help us improve our predictive models that can catch potential onset hearing loss early on!
Informative and actionable insights about your hearing
You might ask: What does that mean for me? Well, we’ll give you in-depth hearing insights to guide you. Graspable insights that inform you directly about how well you hear.
These insights give clear answers to these questions:
- Do I have hearing loss? If so, how severe is it?
- Which ear hears better?
- How do I compare to others my age?
The new, predictive hearing tests that come in April 2017 will help us show you why you are having trouble hearing in noisy environments, and whether you’re able to effectively distinguish different instruments in music. As we gradually increase our understanding of your hearing, your earprint will become more and more complete.
Beyond awareness: What to do after taking the predictive hearing test?
But of course, we don’t stop there. We didn’t create Mimi just to tell you that you have hearing loss and then leave you in the dark. We curated actionable steps for you to explore. We are most excited about our music product that has been on the market for a little over a year now. Especially for those of you who just found out that you don’t hear perfectly anymore, Mimi Music might open up a whole new world. Our music processing technology uniquely solves for the pathologies that underlie hearing loss.
Crucial to appreciating the uniqueness of Mimi Music, is to understand that hearing loss is not merely a loss of sensitivity to frequencies. Our ears start to deteriorate way before hearing loss can be diagnosed with traditional hearing tests. In our everyday lives, we first start to have difficulties distinguishing tones over background noise. Our algorithm is build to make it easier for your ears to recognise the tones distinctly, that is why the music sounds so good with Mimi. But don’t take my word for it, try it out. You can get an idea in the hearing test, or you can try it out in one of our partner apps. In the future, you’ll be able to use our processing everywhere.
The app also features, admittedly less engaging though still important, information on hearing related topics, for example on how to protect your hearing from becoming worse. The value of a predictive hearing test is in your ability to work with your results. Here's some hearing health tips.
The future of predictive hearing health
This predictive hearing test is just a small step forward in the battle against hearing loss. However, it is a leap towards making people more aware, making the problem tangible and providing solutions that matter. For you and me.
Want to check your hearing health and unlock your unique ear print?
Take the Mimi Hearing Test now!