J Am Acad Audiol 2019; 30(06): 482-492
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.17120
Articles
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Monitoring Hearing in an Infectious Disease Clinic with mHealth Technologies

Marize Brittz
*   Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
,
Barbara Heinze
*   Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
,
Faheema Mahomed-Asmail
*   Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
,
De Wet Swanepoel
*   Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
†   Ear Science Institute Australia, Subiaco, Australia
‡   Ear Sciences Centre, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Australia
,
Anton Stoltz
§   Department of Infectious Diseases, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

10 February 2018

22 March 2018

Publication Date:
25 May 2020 (online)

Abstract

Background:

Decentralized detection and monitoring of hearing loss can be supported by new mobile health technologies using automated testing that can be facilitated by minimally trained persons. These may prove particularly useful in an infectious disease (ID) clinic setting where the risk of hearing loss is high.

Purpose:

To evaluate the clinical utility of mobile and automated audiometry hearing health technology in an ID clinic setting.

Research Design:

Smartphone-automated pure-tone audiometry (PTA) (hearTest™) and speech-in-noise testing (SA English digits-in-noise [DIN] test) were compared with manual audiometry (2, 4, and 8 kHz). Smartphone-automated PTA and the DIN test were repeated to determine the test–retest reliability.

Study Sample:

Two hundred subjects (73% female and 27% male) were enrolled. Fifty participants were retested with the smartphone applications. Participants ranged from an age of 18 to 55 years with a mean age of 44.4 (8.7 standard deviation).

Data Analysis:

Threshold comparisons were made between smartphone audiometry testing and manual audiometry. Smartphone-automated PTA, manual audiometry, and test–retest measures were compared (Wilcoxon signed ranked test). Spearman rank correlation test was used to determine the relationship between the smartphone applications and manual audiometry, as well as for test–retest reliability.

Results:

Within all participants, 88.2% of thresholds corresponded within 10 dB or less between smartphone audiometry and manual audiometry. There was a significant difference (p < 0.05) between the right ear at 4 and 8 kHz and in the left ear at 2 and 4 kHz between smartphone and manual audiometry, respectively. No significant difference was noted (p < 0.05) between test and retest measures of smartphone technology.

Conclusions:

Smartphone audiometry with calibrated headphones provides reliable results in an ID clinic setting and can be used as a baseline and monitoring tool at ID clinics.

The hearTest™ application is intellectual property owned and trademarked by the University of Pretoria. The third author has a relationship with the hearX Group, who owns the right to the IP that includes equity, consulting, and potential royalties.


 
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