Automated Smartphone Audiometry: A Preliminary Validation of a Bone-Conduction Threshold Test App.

TitleAutomated Smartphone Audiometry: A Preliminary Validation of a Bone-Conduction Threshold Test App.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDewyer NA, Jiradejvong P, Lee DS, Kemmer JD, Sabes JHenderson, Limb CJ
JournalAnn Otol Rhinol Laryngol
Date Published2019 Jun
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Audiometry, Auditory Threshold, Bone Conduction, Female, Hearing Loss, Conductive, Hearing Loss, Sensorineural, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Proof of Concept Study, Smartphone, Software Validation, Young Adult

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate an automated smartphone app that determines bone-conduction pure-tone thresholds.

METHODS: A novel app, called EarBone, was developed as an automated test to determine best-cochlea pure-tone bone-conduction thresholds using a smartphone driving a professional-grade bone oscillator. Adult, English-speaking patients who were undergoing audiometric assessment by audiologists at an academic health system as part of their prescribed care were invited to use the EarBone app. Best-ear bone-conduction thresholds determined by the app and the gold standard audiologist were compared.

RESULTS: Forty subjects with varied hearing thresholds were tested. Sixty-one percent of app-determined thresholds were within 5 dB of audiologist-determined thresholds, and 79% were within 10 dB. Nearly all subjects required assistance with placing the bone oscillator on their mastoid.

CONCLUSION: Best-cochlea bone-conduction thresholds determined by the EarBone automated smartphone audiometry app approximate those determined by an audiologist. This serves as a proof of concept for automated smartphone-based bone-conduction threshold testing. Further improvements, such as the addition of contralateral ear masking, are needed to make the app clinically useful.

Alternate JournalAnn Otol Rhinol Laryngol
PubMed ID30744390
Faculty Reference: 
Nicholas Dewyer, MD