These days, almost everything can be done on the Internet. From shopping, applying for a job, and taking a college course, anyone can do such tasks from the comfy confines of their home. Even hearing tests can be done online. But should you trust the results of an online hearing test? Are online hearing tests valid and accurate?
Many experts agree that online hearing assessments aren’t accurate enough to replace the traditional hearing test conducted by a professional. Most online hearing tests are for informational purposes only and should never replace professional hearing evaluation. Technology today isn’t enough to accurately check hearing online and make a recommendation based on the results.
One problem with pure tone online tests is the lack of calibration. It is basically up to the user’s computer and speakers to determine the level of sounds being presented. This can affect the results of the hearing test.
There have been many cases in the past when authorities expressed concerns about the validity of online hearing tests.
In February 2012, the American Academy of Otolaryngology published a public letter questioning an insurance firm’s decision to provide coverage for hearing aids that were purchased after users went through a free hearing test via an online retailer.
The Academy said there are concerns over the validity of the online hearing test as well as the lack of peer-revived literature supporting the claims of the company offering the said hearing assessment. It also cited the company’s poor track record in complying with federal and state guidelines.
The US Food and Drug Administration acted on the Academy’s complaints, issuing a cease and desist order to the company offering the online hearing assessment. It cited that the company did not have proper approval to market the online test.
Many studies have also proven that online hearing assessment isn’t as accurate as hearing tests conducted by professionals. In 2008, a study was conducted by Suzanne Kimball of the Audiology department of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. It aimed to compare the effectiveness of pure tone online hearing tests to those performed by audiologists. The study showed that online hearing trials overestimated levels of hearing loss. This is done to encourage users to buy hearing aids, most of which were not calibrated properly.
The bottom line is that an online hearing test is not as accurate as a hearing assessment conducted by an audiologist. Hence, it is vital to make sure that you get a formal hearing test before the hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing assessment and hearing aids services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription