Check Hearing: Online Audiometry

Audiometry Anywhere for All
Brought to You by Fauquier ENT

Why are there no volume settings?

Especially when other websites offer digital volume controls and settings...

If you have dabbled around on our website, you will notice that we actually play different sound levels of audio tones/sounds/noises. We even offer a way to measure how loud your room is with our online sound meter. But rarely do we offer a way for a user to adjust volume digitally... Rather volume control is specifically accomplished via using a device's and headphone's hardware volume controls.

The answer is quite obvious once you think about it.

The main volume controls on a computer/headphone/device (hardware volume) is set to a level a user finds comfortable. This hardware volume over-rides any embedded sound or video for a given website (including ours) regardless of what volume it is digitally set at (digital volume). For example, a user may have set their hardware volume to 50% of maximum. However, if a given website like YouTube has set their digital volume to 50% as well, then the overall "end" volume a user will hear would be another 50% of the user's hardware volume... or an end volume of 25%.

It is generally assumed (perhaps in error or perhaps not) that a user would have set their computer's main volume to a comfortable level. Thus it makes sense for anyone embedding sound or video to replay all at 100% of your comfortable listening level (100% digital volume).

This makes even more sense when considering the fact that digital volume also works by reducing the bitrate (and therefore quality) of the audio.

Why have things been made this way... deliberately?

It's to prevent one possible route for a hacker to control the actual computer hardware. If a piece of software or website is able to control the actual hardware volume, think what a hacker can do with that knowledge? They can set your computer's volume to maximum and blast music causing hearing damage... and it could be a horrible, expletive laden music instead of what you actually wanted played.

And depending on how the hardware is controlled, this may allow a route for a hacker to access other hardware components that they would be able to maliciously change... perhaps, a battery's thermal management system causing it to overheat and catch fire.