Accuracy of a Tablet Audiometer for Measuring Behavioral Hearing Thresholds in a Clinical Population

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Nov;153(5):838-42. doi: 10.1177/0194599815593737. Epub 2015 Jul 16.


Objective: To examine the validity of a tablet computer-based audiometer for measuring hearing thresholds in a moderately noisy environment.

Study design: A prospective single-cohort repeated measures study.

Setting: Tertiary care institution providing hearing health care to a diverse population.

Subjects and methods: Subjects included 49 participants (44 adults, 5 children) with all degrees of hearing sensitivity. Potential participants were excluded if they were <4 years old or had cognitive deficits or ear drainage. Participants were tested with established audiometric tests and a tablet audiometer. Threshold values were measured for both ears using various stimuli (500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz). Testing with the tablet audiometer was conducted in a non-sound-treated room; room properties were characterized by ambient noise level and reverberation testing. Calibration assessment of the tablet audiometer was performed on 3 occasions.

Results: Within the test thresholds for hearing level, results from the tablet device were within 10 dB of those determined by conventional audiometry for 164 of 172 hearing levels and did not show proportional bias over the testing range. Calibration assessment showed accurate proximity between output and target values, though crosstalk and linearity failed initial assessments.

Conclusion: The tablet-based automated audiometer presents a new method for threshold hearing assessment outside conventional sound booths.

Keywords: audiometrics; automated; hearing thresholds; reliability.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / instrumentation*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Hearing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult