If you or a loved one is having trouble hearing, there are lots of options to get a free hearing test.
Keep reading to learn about:
- DIY hearing checks
- Free online hearing tests
- Apps that test your hearing
- Free local hearing tests
- Free audiology resources for seniors
DIY hearing checks
Amy Sarow is a Doctor of Audiology from Novi, Mich., who serves as Audiology Lead at Soundly,1 a website that offers free hearing tests and hearing aid comparisons. She says comprehensive hearing tests assess the softest sounds a person can hear 50% of the time at specific frequencies.
Though DIY hearing tests can help you determine if you should seek a professional evaluation, they can’t be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the root cause of your hearing loss.
“For example, hearing loss from an ear infection affects a different part of the ear than hearing loss from loud sound exposure,” Dr. Sarow says.
Dr. Sarow suggests three DIY hearing checks you can do at home:
- Rub two fingers together near your ear
- Hold a ticking watch up to your ear
- Have someone else whisper a phrase from behind you, and try to repeat it back
If you have trouble hearing any of these sounds, Dr. Sarow recommends testing with a licensed audiologist, who can detect the extent and type of hearing loss (i.e., sensorineural, conductive, or mixed hearing loss).
Hearing tests can also evaluate a person's speech clarity — in other words, how clearly they understand words.
Free online hearing test
There are many free online hearing tests you can take in the comfort of your home. For the best results, Dr. Sarow says you should use wired headphones and take the test in a quiet area.
These are a few websites that offer free online hearing tests:
- Best Buy
- Healthy Hearing
- Jabra Enhance (also offers an app)
- Soundly (also offers an app)
You can present the results of these online hearing tests to your doctor for further evaluation and treatment.
Apps that test your hearing
There are also several apps that offer free hearing tests:
- Hear Me Hearing Test (4.6 stars on the App Store)
- Hearing Test & Ear Age Test (3.8 stars on the App Store)
- Hearing Test, Audiogram (3.9 stars on Google Play)
- Mimi Hearing Test (4.7 stars on the App Store/2.6 stars on Google Play)
- SonicCloud (4.6 stars on the App Store/4 stars on Google Play)
Dr. Sarow personally recommends Mimi and SonicCloud, which she says offer a quick, free test to determine your Hearing Number in each ear, a measure of how loud speech must be before you can hear it.
“These tests are an easy way to get a snapshot of your hearing and are easy to monitor over time,” she says.
The following chart on severity of hearing loss was published in Asha, a journal of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association2:
|Degree of hearing loss
|Hearing loss range in decibels
|-10 to 15
|16 to 25
|26 to 40
|41 to 55
|56 to 70
|71 to 90
Free hearing test near me
If you are interested in having your hearing tested in person, these are some places you can get a free hearing test:
- Pharmacies: You can usually get a free hearing test at your local pharmacy, including pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens. Contact your pharmacy for details.
- Sam’s Club: Sam’s Club offers free hearing tests in-store for people 19 years old or older. These free hearing tests are available to members and non-members. You can schedule an appointment through your local center or online. However, if you decide to make a hearing aid purchase through Sam’s, you will need a Sam’s Club membership.
- Miracle Ear: Miracle Ear offers online hearing tests but also offers free appointments at its 1,500 centers nationwide.
To find other local options, search “free hearing test near me” online:
Dr. Sarow says a professional, comprehensive hearing evaluation from a licensed audiologist is the best way to diagnose hearing loss.
These tests are conducted in a soundproof room with properly calibrated equipment to evaluate the type and severity of hearing loss. Audiologists can also discuss hearing protection or answer questions about communication strategies, hearing aids, or other interventions for hearing loss.
Free audiology resources for seniors
There are several free audiology resources specifically for seniors:
- AARP: AARP members can take a free at-home hearing test by phone.
- Medicare: Medicare3 covers diagnostic hearing tests if recommended by your health care provider. You can also see an audiologist once a year without an order from your doctor for non-acute hearing conditions and diagnostic services if you have surgically implanted hearing devices.
- United Way: Visit 211.org or dial 2-1-1 on your phone to learn about options for free hearing tests for seniors in your area.
- At-home hearing tests: While not yet widely available, portable technologies from companies like Shoebox and Edare can be sent or brought directly to a patient's home for testing. Speak to your doctor for an at-home testing referral.
Are there hearing screenings for students?
Hearing screenings are required in 37 states for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. In the remaining states, they are suggested, but not required. Check out this map to find out if hearing tests are required in your state.
Check out these other health resources: