Accuracy of Smartphone Self-Hearing Test Applications Across Frequencies and Earphone Styles in Adults Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate smartphone-based self-hearing test applications (apps) for accuracy in threshold assessment and validity in screening for hearing loss across frequencies and earphone transducer styles. Method Twenty-two adult participants (10 = normal hearing; 12 = sensorineural hearing loss; n = 44 ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   September 13, 2018
Accuracy of Smartphone Self-Hearing Test Applications Across Frequencies and Earphone Styles in Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jessica Barczik
    Adelphi University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Garden City, NY
    Long Island Doctor of Audiology Consortium (Adelphi, Hofstra, St. John's Universities), Garden City, NY
  • Yula C. Serpanos
    Adelphi University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Garden City, NY
    Long Island Doctor of Audiology Consortium (Adelphi, Hofstra, St. John's Universities), Garden City, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Yula C. Serpanos: Serpanos@adelphi.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar×
  • Editor: Ann Eddins
    Editor: Ann Eddins×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   September 13, 2018
Accuracy of Smartphone Self-Hearing Test Applications Across Frequencies and Earphone Styles in Adults
American Journal of Audiology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-17-0070
History: Received July 31, 2017 , Revised December 18, 2017 , Accepted May 31, 2018
 
American Journal of Audiology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-17-0070
History: Received July 31, 2017; Revised December 18, 2017; Accepted May 31, 2018

Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate smartphone-based self-hearing test applications (apps) for accuracy in threshold assessment and validity in screening for hearing loss across frequencies and earphone transducer styles.

Method Twenty-two adult participants (10 = normal hearing; 12 = sensorineural hearing loss; n = 44 ears) underwent conventional audiometry and performed 6 self-administered hearing tests using two iPhone-based apps (App 1 = uHear [Version 2.0.2, Unitron]; App 2 = uHearingTest [Version 1.0.3, WooFu Tech, LLC.]) each with 3 different transducers (earbud earphones, supra-aural headphones, circumaural headphones). Hearing sensitivity results using the smartphone apps across frequencies and transducers were compared with conventional audiometry.

Results Differences in accuracy were revealed between the hearing test apps across frequencies and earphone styles. The uHear app using the iPhone standard EarPod earbud earphones was accurate to conventional thresholds (p > .002 with Bonferroni correction) at 1000, 2000, 4000, and 6000 Hz and found valid (81%–100% sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values) for screening mild or greater hearing loss (> 25 dB HL) at 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 6000 Hz. The uHearingTest app was accurate in threshold assessment and determined valid for screening mild or greater hearing loss (> 25 dB HL) using supra-aural headphones at 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz.

Conclusions Self-hearing test apps can be accurate in hearing threshold assessment and screening for mild or greater hearing loss (> 25 dB HL) when using appropriate transducers. To ensure accuracy, manufacturers should specify earphone model instructions to users of smartphone-based self-hearing test apps.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank Mark J. Hilsenroth, Professor, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University, for his guidance on the statistical analysis.
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