Validity of Diagnostic Pure-Tone Audiometry without a Sound-Treated Environment in Older Adults

This study aimed to investigate the validity of the use of the Kuduwave audiometer  for diagnostic pure-tone audiometry in a natural environment. The Kuduwave audiometer  used in this study uses the combination of insert earphones covered by circumaural headphones to attenuate ambient noise during audiometric testing.

The device also incorporates real-time monitoring of environmental noise in order to notify the clinician if the ambient noise is masking the tone presented. The clinician in the study waited for the ambient noise to subside before continuing with the test.

The sample for this study consisted of 147 elderly people with an average age of 75.8 years (range = 65 - 94). The subjects in the study were included as they had visibly intact tympanic membranes through an otoscope and a normal Type-A tympanogram.

Audiometric testing (air and bone conduction) was conducted using the Kuduwave audiometer  in both a natural environment (a quiet furnished room) and in a sound-treated booth in an audiology clinic respectively.

The results of the study shows that both air and bone conduction thresholds corresponded within 0 to 5 dB between the two test environment comparisons. 

The average threshold differences and standard deviations were within typical test-retest reliability limits.

Thresholds recorded showed no statistically significant differences. This concludes and confirms that the Kuduwave audiometer  can be used for valid diagnostic pure-tone audiometry in a natural environment without a sound-treated booth.