IS Hearing Test Without Quiet Room Any Good?

I received a hearing test today from an audiologist without a quiet room. He stuffed sponges and receivers in my ears and performed the test that way. When the audiologist talked to me through the microphone I had to concentrate very hard to understand him and yet when I talked to him in his office without the equipment connected, his voice was very clear. Everything through the test equipment sounded like I was in a tunnel or a large conference room (a large amount of resonant sounds and very poor quality).

The results of the test was much worse than I expected. It indicated that at 500 Hz, my hearing was about 15 DB and it got progressively worse until at 3000 Hz it was 90 DB down. Also my understanding of words that he spoke was not very good.

I question the results because I do not see similar results when I take the following online hearing test. With this test I use good quality headphones (Sennheiser HDR 140) and a quiet as possible environment. That test (using point of no sound) indicates that my hearing starts to drop off at 1500 Hz. At 3000 Hz it indicates a difference of 45 DB below my lower frequencies and 42 DB down on equal loudness test. I’ve taken that test several times and the results are fairly consistent each time. My girlfriend who has pretty good hearing, took the test and her results indicated that her hearing was fairly flat through all the frequencies from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz and was about 10 DB better than my low frequencies.

I performed the online test the way it was recommended (set each frequency to the same loudness) but found it more difficult to try to relate each frequency to the same loudness. I then set all frequencies to the point of no sound and felt more comfortable that I was getting better results that way. However both ways produced similar results.

Performing the online test has the following disadvantages. A 0 DB reference cannot be produced and the sound is always on for both ears. Therefore you cannot produce results as related to 0 DB but only the DB relationship between the different frequencies. Also if your hearing is not approximately the same in both ears, you would need to somehow plug one ear so you can get accurate results. You also probably need cupped type headphones to try to keep as much of the background noise out as possible.

The following is the online test.

Can someone try the above online test and see how it compares with your audiogram?

It is possible to test accurately without a sound isolating booth, provided the room is ultra quiet and insert foam headsets are used, that completely plug the ear.

Yet, the ideal is to test in a quite office with a sound booth.

In addition, if the speech discrimination tests were prerformed with live voice (ie the audi talking thru the audiometer) versus a CD list, then it may not be ideal.

Thus, if there is any question about the actual result, then you may want to go elsewhere and have it tested properly.

As for the link to the online test…it is pretty neat, yet it doesn’t seem to be the best way to actually test hearing acuity, aside from measuring equal loudness over the differing frequencies.

Just for your piece of mind, I’d recommend you get another test and compare the test results. Regardless of what anyone says on this forum, it is clear you are unsure, therefore a second opinion would make you feel a lot better.

You don’t have to be in a sound proof room to get accurate results. As long as you are in a reasonably quiet room, the test results should be fine. Many hearing professionals will have a little booth you sit in that helps deaden any ambient noise.