Adult Validation of A Self-Administered Tablet Audiometer

Journal of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
07 Nov, 2019 ,

The primary objective of this study was to validate a tablet audiometer with adult patients in a clinical setting. Secondarily, word recognition with a tablet audiometer was compared against conventional audiometry. Puretone audiometry and word recognition testing appear valid when performed by non-healthcare experts using a tablet audiometer outside a sound booth in a quiet environment.

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Background

There is evidence to suggest that rates of hearing loss are increasing more rapidly than the capacity of traditional audiometry resources for screening. A novel innovation in tablet, self-administered portable audiometry has been proposed as a solution to this discordance. The primary objective of this study was to validate a tablet audiometer with adult patients in a clinical setting. Secondarily, word recognition with a tablet audiometer was compared against conventional audiometry.

Methods

Three distinct prospective adult cohorts underwent testing. In group 1 and group 2 testing with the automated tablet audiometer was compared to standard sound booth audiometry. In Group 1, participants’ pure tone thresholds were measured with an automated tablet audiometer in a quiet clinic exam room. In Group 2, participants completed monosyllabic word recognition testing using the NU-6 word lists. In Group 3, internal reliability was tested by having participants perform two automated tablets audiometric evaluations in sequence.

Results

Group 1 included 40 patients mean age was 54.7 ± 18.4 years old and 60% female; Group 2 included 44 participants mean age was 55.2 ± 14.8 years old and 68.2% female; Group 3 included 40 participants with mean age of 39.4 + 15.9 years old and 60.5% female. In Group 1, compared to standard audiometry, 95.7% (95% CI: 92.6–98.9%) of thresholds were within 10 dB. In Group 2, comparing word recognition results, 96.2% (95% CI: 89.5–98.7%) were clinically equivalent and within a critical difference range. In Group 3, One-way Intraclass Correlation for agreement for both left- and right-ear pure tone average was 0.98. The mean difference between repeat assessments was 0 (SD = 2.1) in the left ear and 0.1 (SD = 1.1) in the right ear.

Conclusion

Puretone audiometry and word recognition testing appear valid when performed by non-healthcare experts using a tablet audiometer outside a sound booth in a quiet environment.