Web- and app-based tools for remote hearing assessment: a scoping review

Ibrahim Almufarrij*, Harvey Dillon, Piers Dawes, David R. Moore, Wai Yeung, Anna-Pavlina Charalambous, Chryssoula Thodi, Kevin J. Munro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Remote hearing screening and assessment may improve access to, and uptake of, hearing care. This review, the most comprehensive to date, aimed to (i) identify and assess functionality of remote hearing assessment tools on smartphones and online platforms, (ii) determine if assessed tools were also evaluated in peer-reviewed publications and (iii) report accuracy of existing validation data.

DESIGN: Protocol was registered in INPLASY and reported according to PRISMA-Extension for Scoping Reviews.

STUDY SAMPLE: In total, 187 remote hearing assessment tools (using tones, speech, self-report or a combination) and 101 validation studies met the inclusion criteria. Quality, functionality, bias and applicability of each app were assessed by at least two authors.

RESULTS: Assessed tools showed considerable variability in functionality. Twenty-two (12%) tools were peer-reviewed and 14 had acceptable functionality. The validation results and their quality varied greatly, largely depending on the category of the tool.

CONCLUSION: The accuracy and reliability of most tools are unknown. Tone-producing tools provide approximate hearing thresholds but have calibration and background noise issues. Speech and self-report tools are less affected by these issues but mostly do not provide an estimated pure tone audiogram. Predicting audiograms using filtered language-independent materials could be a universal solution.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • app-based
  • web-based
  • remote assessment
  • hearing assessment
  • online hearing tests

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