Modernising speech audiometry: using a smartphone application to test word recognition

Int J Audiol. 2018 Aug;57(8):561-569. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2018.1463465. Epub 2018 Apr 20.


Objective: This study aimed to develop and assess a method to measure word recognition abilities using a smartphone application (App) connected to an audiometer.

Design: Word lists were recorded in South African English and Afrikaans. Analyses were conducted to determine the effect of hardware used for presentation (computer, compact-disc player, or smartphone) on the frequency content of recordings. An Android App was developed to enable presentation of recorded materials via a smartphone connected to the auxiliary input of the audiometer. Experiments were performed to test feasibility and validity of the developed App and recordings.

Study sample: Participants were 100 young adults (18-30 years) with pure tone thresholds ≤15 dB across the frequency spectrum (250-8000 Hz).

Results: Hardware used for presentation had no significant effect on the frequency content of recordings. Listening experiments indicated good inter-list reliability for recordings in both languages, with no significant differences between scores on different lists at each of the tested intensities. Performance-intensity functions had slopes of 4.05%/dB for English and 4.75%/dB for Afrikaans lists at the 50% point.

Conclusions: The developed smartphone App constitutes a feasible and valid method for measuring word recognition scores, and can support standardisation and accessibility of recorded speech audiometry.

Keywords: Speech perception; mobile health; speech audiometry; tele-audiology; word recognition.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Audiometry, Speech / instrumentation*
  • Audiometry, Speech / methods
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smartphone*
  • South Africa
  • Speech Perception*
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation*
  • Telemedicine / methods
  • Young Adult