Validity of Diagnostic Pure-Tone Audiometry Using a Portable Computerised Audiometer Outside of a Sound-Treated Environment

Historically, diagnostic air and bone conduction audiometry has been conducted in conventional, annually certified audiometric test booths that allow for testing of hearing thresholds down to 0 dB.

Advances in technology with double transducer attenuation incorporating insert earphones with circumaural earcups and real-time on-screen monitoring of noise provide both passive control as well as active quantification of transient extraneous interference for testing outside of a sound booth.

This study presents evidence that valid diagnostic air and bone conduction pure-tone hearing thresholds can be recorded using a mobile computerised audiometer without an audiometric booth or sound-treated environment. The potential to take diagnostic audiometry beyond the regular clinical establishment may extend hearing healthcare services to patients unable to attend clinics for any number of reasons.

The possibility of coupling the extension of diagnostic hearing tests outside of a sound booth with tele-audiology applications may empower hearing healthcare professionals to reach remote communities in low and middle income countries where audiometric booths and human resources are a scarce luxury and diagnostic evaluations improbable as a result.

It is a global concern that communities everywhere do not currently have access to hearing healthcare services and, for this cause, continued advances in technology need to be garnered and developed for the benefit of all people.

This dissertation combines the two previous large studies and provides additional quantitative proof that the Kuduwave audiometer accurately tests air and bone conduction with masking outside of a sound booth in uncertified ambient noise environments.