Background: The current study aimed to determine the accuracy of UHear™, a downloadable audiometer on to an iPod Touch©, when compared with conventional audiometry.
Methods: Participants were enrolled primary school scholars. A total number of eighty-six participants (172 ears) were included. Of these eighty-six participants, forty-four were female and forty-two were male; with the age ranging from 8 years to 10 years (mean age, 9.0 years). Each participant underwent two audiological screening evaluations; one by means of conventional audiometry and the other by means of UHear™. Otoscopy and tympanometry was performed on each participant to determine status of their outer and middle ear before each participant undergoing pure tone air conduction screening by means of conventional audiometer and UHear™. The lowest audible hearing thresholds from each participant were obtained at conventional frequencies.
Results: Using the Paired t-test, it was determined that there was a significant statistical difference between hearing screening thresholds obtained from conventional audiometry and UHear™. The screening thresholds obtained from UHear™ were significantly elevated (worse) in comparison to conventional audiometry. The difference in thresholds may be attributed to differences in transducers used, ambient noise levels and lack of calibration of UHear™.
Conclusion: The UHear™ is not as accurate as conventional audiometry in determining hearing thresholds during screening of school-aged children. Caution needs to be exercised when using such measures and research evidence needs to be established before they can be endorsed and used with the general public.