Intercontinental Hearing Assessment – A Study in Tele-Audiology

This study evaluated the validity of remote pure-tone audiometric testing using the Kuduwave audiometer. Remote pure-tone audiometry was conducted with a clinical audiologist in North America on participants situated in South Africa. Desktop-sharing computer software was used to control an audiometer in Pretoria, SA from Dallas, USA, and PC-based video-conferencing was employed for clinician and participant communication.

This study included 30 adult participants. Pure-tone audiometric thresholds for conventional frequencies (125 - 8000 Hz) were obtained and compared for conventional face-to-face and remote testing. Face-to-face and remote audiometry thresholds differed by 10 dB in only 4% of cases overall.

Unsurprisingly, the average test duration was 21% longer for remote testing (10.4 vs. 8.2 min). This can be attributed to users not being acquainted with technology and internet lags. 

No clinically significant differences were observed between the results obtained by remote intercontinental audiometric testing and conventional face-to-face audiometry. Thus, the reach of audiological services may be expanded into remote regions using the Kuduwave tele-audiology function.