Man peeping through blinds because he is hiding.

You know you’re not supposed to cheat. It’s dishonorable. It means you got something you really didn’t earn. If you believe in “what goes around comes around,” you might even avoid cheating because of its bad Karma.

But just like a white lie, you’ve probably encountered times in your life where itty-bitty cheating didn’t seem to hurt anyone, so you did it. And you got away with it. It seemed harmless in the end.

But if you’re cheating on a hearing test, it’s far from harmless. This is one time you don’t want to guess your way to a passing grade.

When a Passing Grade Isn’t a Good Thing

In the 1950’s standardized tests became the measure for school achievement and college admittance across the US. With your trusty pencil, you filled in the bubbles for multiple choice questions. If you ran out of time, you just filled in a random answer for the remaining bubbles, hoping you’d get at least some of them right.

It was even encouraged. It’s not technically cheating. (And it could boost your grade a little!)

This way of thinking is ingrained in us. If we don’t know the answer, we guess. We hope for the best.

But in the case of a hearing test, getting a passing grade when you can’t hear isn’t a good thing.

We’ll discuss it. But first, let’s look at how and why people cheat on their hearing tests.

Why Do People Cheat on Hearing Tests

For many people, “failing” a hearing test means you’re getting older. Or you’re ashamed that you didn’t listen when your parents told you not to turn the radio all the way up in the car.

Many people don’t want to admit that they might need a hearing aid. They want to prove to themselves that they can get by without one. Or they want to feel like their hearing loss requires higher settings on a hearing aid.

So they lie about what they can hear.

Ways to Cheat on Your Hearing Test

Just like school, some people are better at cheating than others.

If you’re a musician or worked in a factory-type job, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in loud settings. Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve taught yourself how to read lips. You use deductive reasoning to determine what’s being said when you can’t hear it.

During the test, you use your skills to “figure out” what someone said in the test even though it sounded muffled. If you’re really good at it, you may completely fool your audiologist.

If you’re really brainy, then you might have an above average ability to infer what someone said. You also can fool the audiologist.

Some people have even learned to manipulate the frequency (pitch) of sound as it moves into the inner ear. This also would help you pass a frequency test when you really can’t hear that frequency.

Ha Ha. You showed them. You cheated your way through the test.

You may not even realize the consequences at the time, but soon it will become obvious.

This Cheating Won’t Get You Expelled…it’s Much Worse

The ramifications of cheating on this test are much worse than detention or getting expelled. It can lead to permanent damage to your health and happiness. This damage happens slowly, so it’s hard to notice. But much of it is irreversible.

When you cheat on this test, your audiologist may tell you that you don’t need a hearing aid. Or they may fit you with a hearing aid that doesn’t provide the optimal experience. This might cause you not to want to wear it.

At first, you may jump for joy that your hearing “isn’t so bad.” That delusion can only hurt you though.

Here’s where the troubles begin.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to faster loss of hearing. As your brain becomes accustomed to relying less on hearing, the sense begins to dull. It’s not unlike a weightlifter who stops lifting weights for a year. You suddenly find you’re not as strong as you were.

But with hearing, there’s no way to get that strength back naturally.

People with untreated hearing loss are 50% more likely to suffer from depression. Anxiety risk is also significantly increased. Social isolation is also very common as social activities slowly become harder or less fun without hearing.

A massive Harvard study of over 20 thousand people, found that those with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe that as a hearing person begins to use less of their brain to hear, it causes a ripple effect. It impacts memory, cognition, visuospatial reasoning and problem-solving.

Untreated hearing loss increases fall risk by 140% or more. Even people with mild hearing loss are impacted.

On top of all of this, untreated hearing loss puts a considerable strain on relationships, leading to misunderstandings, anger and even resentment.

Even if you think a little cheating is okay, this is one test you shouldn’t cheat on. Be honest with yourself and your doctor about what you’re really able to hear. Only then will you be able to live better with the appropriate hearing device.