Self-test web-based pure-tone audiometry: validity evaluation and measurement error analysis

J Med Internet Res. 2013 Apr 12;15(4):e71. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2222.


Background: Potential methods of application of self-administered Web-based pure-tone audiometry conducted at home on a PC with a sound card and ordinary headphones depend on the value of measurement error in such tests.

Objective: The aim of this research was to determine the measurement error of the hearing threshold determined in the way described above and to identify and analyze factors influencing its value.

Methods: The evaluation of the hearing threshold was made in three series: (1) tests on a clinical audiometer, (2) self-tests done on a specially calibrated computer under the supervision of an audiologist, and (3) self-tests conducted at home. The research was carried out on the group of 51 participants selected from patients of an audiology outpatient clinic. From the group of 51 patients examined in the first two series, the third series was self-administered at home by 37 subjects (73%).

Results: The average difference between the value of the hearing threshold determined in series 1 and in series 2 was -1.54dB with standard deviation of 7.88dB and a Pearson correlation coefficient of .90. Between the first and third series, these values were -1.35dB±10.66dB and .84, respectively. In series 3, the standard deviation was most influenced by the error connected with the procedure of hearing threshold identification (6.64dB), calibration error (6.19dB), and additionally at the frequency of 250Hz by frequency nonlinearity error (7.28dB).

Conclusions: The obtained results confirm the possibility of applying Web-based pure-tone audiometry in screening tests. In the future, modifications of the method leading to the decrease in measurement error can broaden the scope of Web-based pure-tone audiometry application.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods*
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / statistics & numerical data
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Telemedicine / methods
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult