A mobile phone–based approach for hearing screening of school-age children: Cross-sectional validation study

Yuan Chia Chu, Yen Fu Cheng, Ying Hui Lai, Yu Tsao, Tzong Yang Tu, Shuenn Tsong Young, Tzer Shyong Chen, Yu Fang Chung, Feipei Lai, Wen Huei Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Pure-tone screening (PTS) is considered as the gold standard for hearing screening programs in school-age children. Mobile devices, such as mobile phones, have the potential for audiometric testing. Objective: This study aimed to demonstrate a new approach to rapidly screen hearing status and provide stratified test values, using a smartphone-based hearing screening app, for each screened ear of school-age children. Method: This was a prospective cohort study design. The proposed smartphone-based screening method and a standard sound-treated booth with PTS were used to assess 85 school-age children (170 ears). Sound-treated PTS involved applying 4 test tones to each tested ear: 500 Hz at 25 dB and 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz at 20 dB. The results were classified as pass (normal hearing in the ear) or fail (possible hearing impairment). The proposed smartphone-based screening employs 20 stratified hearing scales. Thresholds were compared with those of pure-tone average (PTA). Results: A total of 85 subjects (170 ears), including 38 males and 47 females, aged between 11 and 12 years with a mean (SD) of 11 (0.5) years, participated in the trial. Both screening methods produced comparable pass and fail results (pass in 168 ears and fail in 2 ears). The smartphone-based screening detected moderate or worse hearing loss (average PTA>25 dB) accurately. Both the sensitivity and specificity of the smartphone-based screening method were calculated at 100%. Conclusions: The results of the proposed smartphone-based self-hearing test demonstrated high concordance with conventional PTS in a sound-treated booth. Our results suggested the potential use of the proposed smartphone-based hearing screening in a school-age population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12033
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Audiometry
  • Hearing tests
  • Mobile apps
  • Pure-tone
  • Telemedicine


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