Development and accuracy of a hearing screening application

Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Nov-Dec;87(6):711-717. doi: 10.1016/j.bjorl.2020.03.009. Epub 2020 May 5.


Introduction: Hearing impairment, or hearing loss, can be caused by several factors and the implications vary according to the type, degree, cause and age of occurrence. Hearing screening should be a common procedure, allowing the pre-clinical identification and necessary referrals, avoiding the consequences of auditory deprivation. Mobile apps have shown to be a good alternative for hearing assessment.

Objective: The objective was to develop an app and assess its performance in identifying hearing loss by comparing it with another validated screening tool.

Methods: The application, called Ouviu, was created using audiological knowledge and tools available on the iOS platform. We evaluated 185 people, aged between 6 and 96 years, distributed into 5 age groups, performing audiometry and hearing screening using two tools: HearCheck and the application.

Results: The results showed that the sensitivity of the application in identifying hearing loss was approximately 97%, while that of HearCheck was 79%. The positive predictive value of the application showed that the probability of a person being identified with this tool and actually having a hearing loss was 94%, while for HearCheck it was 96%. False negatives, which failed hearing loss identification, were fewer in the app (3%) than in HearCheck (21%).

Conclusion: Consequently, the developed application was shown to be effective as a hearing screening tool, surpassing HearCheck in identifying mild hearing loss. In addition to being portable, easy to apply, low cost and rapidly performed, the application has the advantage of assessing environmental noise to perform the exam, as well as the fact that it is not necessary to attach any hardware to the mobile device.

Keywords: Audiometry; Hearing loss; Mobile applications; Screening programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry
  • Child
  • Hearing
  • Hearing Loss* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Young Adult