A comparison among hearing healthcare digital applications: An examination of test accuracy and user perception in normal hearing young adults

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Steven Madix


Hearing loss is considered one of the top three common disabilities for adults worldwide (Karlsmose, Lauritzen, Engberg, & Parving, 2001). Without common, easily accessible hearing screening programs for adults, most will not have their hearing tested once they leave elementary school unless they suspect a significant problem. As the adaptation of smartphones and tablets grow, so does the market for healthcare screening or monitoring applications including those for hearing healthcare. The primary aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of a selected group of hearing screening apps that attempt to screen or test hearing while using different commercially available transducers (silicone-tipped earbuds, standard earbuds, and circumaural headphones) among normal hearing listeners. A second purpose of this study was to determine the user's perceptions of the apps in terms of quality, as opposed to seeing a hearing healthcare professional. Twenty normal hearing young adults were tasked with completing hearing screenings using a selected group of apps on an iPad and three different transducers. Each participant completed a user satisfaction survey for each app when completed. The results showed that the more occluding the transducer the more accurate were the results obtained from each app. User perception was neutral overall with participants rating the use of any of the selected apps as fairly neutral. Participants also rated the apps as a poor substitute for professional hearing healthcare assessments. In conclusion, the use of the smartphone or tablet for adult hearing screenings could be an appropriate entry point into hearing healthcare if further development with regards to accuracy is completed.