How does tablet game audiometry perform as a screening tool for the pediatric population?
Bottom line: Tablet game audiometry as a screening tool performs well in a controlled setting and can be considered a reliable screening method for school-age children.
Explore This IssueSeptember 2020
BACKGROUND: Unrecognized hearing loss in children can deleteriously affect speech and language development, school performance, and overall quality of life. Otitis media effusion (OME) is a prevalent cause of hearing impairment in children, yet current guidelines advise against childhood population screening due to the time and expense of standard audiologic testing.
STUDY DESIGN: Case-control study.
SETTING: ENT Department, Children’s Hospital of the Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.
SYNOPSIS: Researchers identified 516 children age 3 to 13 years (190 girls, 326 boys) who had visited the ENT clinic over the previous three months. Subjects were screened via pure tone air conduction audiogram (ACAud). The tablet hearing game (THG), which employs game theory, visual context, music, and effects that resemble normal hearing function, was administered in a quiet room and presented 120 tones. Children would tap the screen after having registered tones as “heard.” Patient data from THG and ACAud were tabulated, analyzed, and compared across individual frequencies and pure tone averages. Findings showed THG thresholds within 10 dB of ACAud thresholds for subjects 4 years and older but did not support THG’s use for 3-year-olds. Results demonstrate the comparability of the tablet game to pure tone hearing methods. Automated, readily accessible software has the potential to remove cost barriers, promote more screening, and identify hearing loss earlier in life. A factor in the study was the language barrier, as subjects spoke Mandarin and the tablet game was available only in English.
CITATION: Xiao L, Zou B, Li G, et al. A novel tablet-based approach for hearing screening of the pediatric population, 516-patient study. Laryngoscope. 2020;130:2245-2251.