Can I Test My Hearing Online?

Web browser showing website url.

You can do everything online now. From banking to ordering groceries to video chatting with your grandson.

When they say, “there’s an app for that,” it’s no joke. If you can think it up, someone has probably already created a website tool that can do it.

But can you really do anything online now? You know better.

Despite how pervasive the Internet is in our lives there are still some things that you can’t do online. Or at least you shouldn’t

Getting your hearing tested in one of them. Let’s look at why!

You’re Not in a Controlled Setting

Hearing tests only work in a place where there is 0 background noise. Otherwise, the test will be incorrect. For example, you might be able to hear a very faint tone in a room that’s perfectly quiet. But something as quiet as an air conditioner vent can hide the sound from your ear.

Online hearing tests advise you to sit in a quiet room. Turn off the TV, fans and anything that’s making any kind of noise.

This is sound advice in theory. But it doesn’t work in practice. It’s not possible to completely eliminate sound in a home environment. All appliances in your home make a sound. Traffic outside, the wind, birds, neighbors — they all make a sound, however faint. When all else is eliminated, even your breath becomes pronounced.

You need special equipment to eliminate the effects of this background noise. This equipment would be cost-prohibitive in a home setting. Audiologists, ENTs and HIS (Hearing Instrument Specialist) have invested in this equipment.

Only they can get an accurate reading.

They’re Not Calibrated

Online hearing tests rely on your own speaks to transmit the tones. The problem is that there is no single standard for speakers.

You’ve probably noticed this. A level 15 on the TV isn’t the same as level 15 on your computer, stereo or other devices.

Audiometers, the kind you can only use in a doctor’s office, are calibrated to meet federal standards. On these devices, a 15 is always 15. It’s never anything else.

Because of that, 15 means something.

You’re Not Getting a Usable Reading

An inaccurate and uncalibrated reading isn’t usable for anything other than fulfilling your own curiosity. These websites will tell you that they can fit you with a hearing device that meets your specific needs as a result of the test.

The problem is that they don’t know what your specific needs. There’s no way to do an accurate test without the right equipment currently.

Online Hearing Tests Don’t Address the Cause of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is 100% preventable. It’s not an inevitability of aging. Using an online test is the equivalent to diagnosing yourself. You miss opportunities for a full examination that could not only explain what’s causing your hearing loss. It could also help you stop it from getting worse.

People End Up with a Poor Hearing Experience

In many cases, people purchase costly hearing aids based on the results when they didn’t really have hearing loss. Or hearing loss was much less severe than the test suggested. That’s a huge waste of money. When you compare this expense to the relatively low cost of a doctor’s visit, this is sad.

Because the hearing aid is not programmed to meet the unique hearing profile of the patient, the hearing experience is often unpleasant. People with poorly fitted hearing aid don’t wear them.

If they would benefit from a hearing aid but don’t wear it, they’re missing out. They think this is just how hearing with a hearing aid is. They don’t realize that it’s not the hearing aid. It’s the flawed test.

In other instances, a more affordable sound amplification device is sold to the person. It looks like a hearing aid, but it’s not a hearing aid. It only makes the noise louder. If you have hearing loss, you don’t just need sound louder. You need it to be more precise and easier to understand. That’s what you get with a properly-fitted hearing aid.

Online Tests Aren’t Intended to Replace Hearing Test

You’ll see very reputable companies offering these tests. That makes them seem like a legitimate replacement for a scheduled hearing test.

But these tests should be used for informational-use only. Reputable companies will tell you that. Others will not. Only a doctor can diagnose precisely your level of hearing loss in order to fit you with a hearing aid that offers the optimal hearing experience.

Want more information?

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