The hi HealthInnovations website tells consumers to take the test in a quiet place where there is no noise from the TV, fans or appliances. But these precautions are insufficient, otolaryngologists said. Everyone’s home has some background noise, which will affect the test results, Dr. Hillman said. That’s why a soundproof booth is necessary.
Audiometers are calibrated to meet federal guidelines, noted Mark Pyle, MD, academic vice chairman of otolaryngology and residency program director at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This ensures test accuracy nationwide. With an online test, “there is no calibration, there is no soundproof room, there is no masking, there is no control,” Dr. Pyle said. “So we really don’t know what degree of hearing loss they have. Some people may receive devices that are too powerful. They may receive devices that aren’t appropriate.”
Results for a consumer who takes the test with background noise could show hearing loss where there is none, causing the person to buy a hearing aid that isn’t needed.