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DIY healthcare: test your hearing

If you are concerned about vuvuzela damage from World Cup fever or have cyberchondria after reading about tinnitus - a constant ringing in the ear with no external sound - you may want to take a basic hearing test available online or on your smartphone.

Here are two simple, fast and free tests online:

The global hearing initiative Hear-the-World has created a test that takes just a few minutes where you will hear a series of words 27 times and have to match them with their corresponding image; as the test continues the background noise increases. To try, go to:  http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/recognize-hearing-loss/online-hearing-test.html

A UK-based hearing loss and awareness charity RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People), has developed a similar test that uses numbers instead of images, requiring you to type a series of three digits after you hear them: http://www.rnid.org.uk/howwehelp/hearing_check/take_online_hearing_check/?from=/check

There is also the option to monitor your hearing remotely with smartphone applications: here are a few available for download via iTunes: Test your hearing app (€0.79), UHear (free), Senses Hearing Test (€1.59) and Audiometry (€2.39).

If you are concerned with the results of the these tests or your hearing in general, it is best to consult your physician or an audiologist.