Is portable screening for hearing loss good enough to become the norm, replacing sound-treated booths?



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New research published by the American Journal of Audiology has found that a portable device used in non-sound booth environments was "comparable to clinical audiometry for the identification of hearing loss at most frequencies".

Using GoAudio portable, anti-noise hardware combined with app-based hearing screening solution, the researchers tested reliability in conditions without an onsite health provider to administer the test.

And co-author of the study, Gayla L. Poling, audiology researcher at the USA's Mayo Clinic, told The Hearing Journal that the GoAudio portable device offered a "self-paced, automated hearing assessment option with potential for integration with consumer health management devices and assistive listening technologies in the clinic, classroom, home, and beyond".

Underlining that clinicians are looking to expand the now frequent use of portable screening devices to include tablet-based tools and new screening models, Poling stressed that portable automated hearing testing technologies so far marketed have been limited by affordability and the need for proper booths. This new study sought to examine the results of testing outside the booth environment.

“Results from GoAudio were comparable to clinical audiometry for identification of hearing loss at all frequencies, except 1 kHz in both ears and 2 kHz in the right ear,” the study found.

User literacy limitation

One of several limitations revealed by the study would be users' literacy in using the tool themselves, resulting in variancy that could impact the results, Poling pointed out. “We were able to incorporate these ‘lessons learned’ from user feedback to continue to refine GoAudio for improved usability in ongoing investigations,” the audiologist affirmed.

“Given the individualised characteristics and impacts of hearing loss, successfully utilising evidenced-based tools such as tablet-based hearing testing in the clinical practice is feasible and necessary to support accessibility and affordability of hearing care,” Poling confirmed.

Source: The Hearing Journal