Ongoing research compares the Tunefork app to conventional audiometry with potentially exciting results
These days, there’s an app for just about anything. There are shopping apps, gaming apps, emotional support apps… there’s even an app called Nothing that does… well, nothing! But when anyone can develop and market an app to virtually anyone, at Tunefork, we wanted to take our app one step further, ensuring that our hearing screening mobile application not only works, but that it works just as well as conventional audiometry, as tested in formal, medical settings.
The following is an interim summary of our hearing screening mobile application’s most recent and ongoing clinical trial.
Pitting the best against the best
To ensure that our hearing screening mobile application was being compared against the most rigid and relevant medical-grade hearing screening methods available, we partnered with ARC and launched a clinical trial at Sheba Medical Center’s Hearing, Speech, & Language Center, where people with suspected and/or confirmed hearing loss receive diagnoses and are referred for treatment each and every day.
Thanks to the Center’s state-of-the-art facilities, we are able to evaluate differences in hearing thresholds, as measured by means of two testing methods: 1) conventional audiometry performed in a soundproof room; and 2) Tunefork’s hearing screening mobile application connected to Sony WH-1000XM3 supra-aural headphones, performed in a quiet hospital office.
Hearing from those with hearing loss
To ascertain whether Tunefork’s hearing screening mobile application truly performs on par with conventional audiometry, we sought to obtain as broad and diverse a sample population as possible, with respect to age, measured hearing thresholds, and other demographic information. Over a two months testing period, 84 participants referred for a hearing evaluation at either the Hearing, Speech, and Language Center, or the Shibat Medical Screening Center, agreed to join the trial. That’s 168 ears belonging to men and women aged 18-87 (mean age- 45.4, SD-14.1), with hearing thresholds ranging between 0- 70dBHL.
It’s important to note that throughout the course of the clinical trial, we are measuring hearing thresholds at 7 frequencies- 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 6000, and 8000Hz. This, so as to understand the full scope of each participant’s hearing abilities and/or loss, both through conventional audiometry, as well as when using the Tunefork app.
Everyone’s a winner!
While it is still early days and the clinical trial is still running its course, the data collection stage is now nearly complete and the information collected is ready to be analyzed. Results are already indicating that the Tunefork app could be used to provide a positive testing experience by closely approximating audiometry - the gold standard of hearing testing - anytime and from anywhere. Using the app ahead of audiometry appointments could provide users with an indication as to their need for hearing assistance and treatments and encourage steps to be taken towards achieving these goals, while waiting the (unfortunately) lengthy period of time until their appointment date.
True, there are minimal differences between the thresholds obtained by conventional audiometry and the Tunefork app, but these differences are not clinically meaningful. In fact, similar differences are observed when retesting multiple times using conventional audiometry. No two tests are likely to be identical, but their similarity provides hope that Tunefork users everywhere will be able to save on time, money, and equipment, simply by tracking their own hearing over time, with the help of their preferred digital devices.
With findings like these, everyone comes out a winner!
Try our FREE app now! (Android only) >> Download here