Development and Pilot Testing of Smartphone-Based Hearing Test Application

Kashyap Patel, Linda Thibodeau, David McCullough, Emma Freeman, Issa Panahi
2021 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Identifying and treating hearing loss can help improve communication skills, which often leads to improved quality of life. Many people do not seek medical treatment and, therefore, go undiagnosed for an extended period before realizing they have hearing loss. This study presents a self-administered, low-cost, smartphone-based hearing test application (HearTest) to quantify the pure-tone hearing thresholds of a user. The HearTest application can be used with commercially available smartphone
more » ... ices and an earphone with the mentioned specification. Methods: Air-conduction-based pure-tone audiometry for the smartphone application was designed and implemented to detect hearing thresholds using a traditional "10 dB down and 5 dB up" approach. Employed smartphone-earphone combination was calibrated with respect to a GSI-61 audiometer and insert earphone ER-3A to maintain clinical standards with the help of subjective testing on 20 normal-hearing (NH) participants. Results: Further subjective testing on 14 participants with NH and retesting on five participants showed that HearTest achieves high-accuracy audiogram within clinically acceptable limits (≤10 dB HL mean difference) when compared with the reference clinical audiometer. Hardware challenges and limitations in air-conduction-based hearing tests through smartphones and ways to improve their accuracy and reliability are discussed. Conclusion: The proposed smartphone application provides a simple, affordable, and reliable means for people to learn more about their hearing health without needing access to a formal clinical facility.
doi:10.3390/ijerph18115529 pmid:34064080 fatcat:4e4wqp6qtnhshkgsn55xonuvoi