How we do it: The Dutch functional hearing–screening tests by telephone and internet


C. Smits, Department of Otolaryngology/Audiology, VU University Medical Center, PO Box 7057 1007 MB, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Tel.: +31 20 444 0969; fax: +31 20 444 0983; e-mail:


• The Dutch National Hearing Test is a reliable and very successful functional hearing–screening test by telephone. An internet version of the National Hearing Test was also implemented.

• The National Hearing Test is a fully automatic adaptive speech-in-noise test that uses digit-triplets as speech material. The result of the test is given as ‘good,’‘insufficient,’ or ‘poor.’

• The test by telephone performs better in reaching older subjects, who are more likely to suffer from hearing loss, than the test by internet.

• More than 50% of the participants who scored ‘insufficient’ or ‘poor’ followed the recommendation to visit a GP, hearing-aid dispenser, ENT specialist or Audiological Center.

• The tests contribute to increase the identification and treatment of older hearing-impaired subjects.