Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you recommend any good online hearing tests? My husband has hearing loss, but I can’t get him to go in and get his hearing checked, so I thought a simple online test could help him recognize he has a problem. What can you tell me?

– Loud-Talking Linda


Dear Linda,

There is actually a growing number of very good online and app-based hearing tests available that will let your husband check his hearing on his own.

These tests are a quick and convenient option for the millions of Americans that have mild to moderate hearing loss but often ignore it or don’t want to visit an audiologist for a hearing exam.


Who Should Test?

Hearing loss for most people develops gradually over many years of wear and tear, which is the reason many people don’t realize they actually have a hearing problem.

Anyone who has difficulty hearing or understanding what people say, especially in noisier environments or over the phone, should be tested.

Or, anyone who needs a higher volume of music or TV than other people should take a few minutes to test their hearing.


Self-Hearing Tests

Online and app-based hearing tests can serve as a great screening tool. They are not meant to be a diagnosis, but rather to give you an idea of how bad your hearing loss is and what can be done about it.

For most do-it-yourself hearing tests, you’ll be advised to wear ear headphones or earbuds and sit in a quiet spot.

You also need to know there are two different types of tests available. One type is known as pure-tone testing, where tones are played in decreasing volumes to determine your specific level of hearing loss.

And the other type is known as speech-in-noise or digits-in-noise (DIN), where you’ll be asked to identify words, numbers, or phrases amid background noise.


Where to Test

If your husband uses a smartphone or tablet, two of my favorite app-based hearing tests are the hearWHO app, created by the World Health Organization, and the Mimi Hearing Test app. Both apps are free to use and are available through the App Store and Google Play.

HearWHO allows users to check their hearing status and monitor it over time using a DIN test, while Mimi uses pure-tone and masked-threshold tests to give you a detailed picture of your hearing abilities.

A quick internet search will yield multiple options for free online DIN and pure-tone hearing tests. Many are offered by hearing aid manufacturers, such as Oticon (

All of these hearing tests are completely free to use and take less than five minutes to complete.


What to Do with the Results

If the tests indicate your husband has hearing loss, it’s best to think of that as a starting point. He should take results to his doctor or an audiologist for further evaluation.

Many insurance providers and Medicare Advantage plans cover routine hearing exams; however, Original Medicare does not.


Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.

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