Test How Old Your Ears Are (And How Much Damage You’ve Done To Them)

Test How Old Your Ears Are (And How Much Damage You’ve Done To Them)

Deep down, we all know we shouldn’t crank our music or listen to headphones with the volume really high, but we still do. If you’ve ever wondered if years of hard rock has done any serious damage, here’s an easy way to find out.

Over time what’s known as hair cells in your ears are slowly damaged by constant use. And not just by loud music either, from everyday wear and tear too. The hair cells closest to your ear canal are the ones responsible for detecting higher frequencies, and they’re usually the first to go. So you can get an approximate idea of how much hearing you’ve already lost by listening to various high frequencies.

Headphones are definitely recommended here since your laptop’s or tablet’s speakers probably don’t have the highest fidelity. Don’t worry, there are no failures on this test, just a heap of guilt for not turning down your music back when your parents told you too.

Originally published on Gizmodo Australia.


  • This should be used as a guide only, and visiting a hearing centre to get your ears checked is advisable. They do free basic tests, or can test and plot your hearing for around $50 or so.

    Depending on how well the video above streams, different audio rates are delivered, with different frequencies discarded. Not to mention lots of computers allow sound to be modified to boost/decrease frequencies.

  • The increasing inability to hear higher frequencies (8KHz +)is primarily a function of increasing age and not a good indicator of noise-induced hearing damage. Hearing damage, (and in fact also, age-related hearing loss) while observable at higher frequencies beyond 8kHz, it not as focussed on those higher frequencies as it as observable as a ‘notch’ of hearing loss centered around 4KHz that gets wider (in frequency range) and deeper (as increased attenuation) as damage becomes more pronounced; which eventually can affect the ultra-high frequencies as well. You can have significant hearing damage and still hear sounds at 10KHz but not hear well at 4KHz. If you suspect a problem, see a hearing specialist!

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