Smartphone hearing screening with integrated quality control and data management

Int J Audiol. 2014 Dec;53(12):841-9. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2014.920965. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


Objective: To determine if a smartphone application could be used as a calibrated screening audiometer with real-time noise monitoring for school screening using automated test sequences.

Design: The investigation comprised three studies. Study 1 evaluated calibration accuracy across four Samsung S5301 smartphones (Android v4.0.4) using commercial Sennheiser HD202 headphones. Study 2 involved referencing smartphone microphone sensitivity to narrowband noise intensity as measured in octave bands by a sound-level meter between 30 and 75 dB SPL (5 dB increments). Study 3 compared screening outcomes of smartphone based and conventional hearing screening.

Study sample: Study 2: 15 normal-hearing subjects (age range, 18-22 years; all female). Study 3: 162 children (324 ears) aged 5 to 7 years.

Results: Smartphone calibration at 20, 30, and 40 dB was within 1 dB of recommended reference equivalent thresholds levels. Microphone calibration for noise monitoring had maximum variability across phones of 0.9, 0.6, and 2.9 dB at 1, 2, and 4 kHz, respectively, from reference intensities (30 to 75 dB SPL). Screening outcomes demonstrated no significant difference between smartphone and conventional audiometry with an overall referral rate of 4.3% and 3.7%, respectively.

Conclusions: The newly developed smartphone application can be accurately calibrated for audiometry with valid real-time noise monitoring, and clinical results are comparable to conventional screening.

Keywords: Ambient noise; audiometry; calibration; childhood hearing loss; hearing screening; pure-tone audiometry; school screening.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / instrumentation*
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Calibration
  • Cell Phone / instrumentation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Hearing Tests / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Noise
  • Quality Control
  • Sound Spectrography / instrumentation
  • Young Adult