OBJECTIVE : This study investigated the reliability, accuracy, and time
efficiency of automated hearing assessment using a computer-based telemedicine-compliant audiometer. MATERIALS AND METHODS : Thirty normal-hearing subjects and eight hearing-impaired subjects were
tested with pure-tone air conduction audiometry (125–8,000 Hz) in a manual and automated configuration in a counterbalanced manner. For the normal-hearing group each test was repeated to determine
test-retest reliability and recording time, and preference for threshold-seeking method (manual vs. automated) was documented.
RESULTS : Test-retest thresholds were not significantly different for manual and automated testing. Manual audiometry test-retest correspondence was 5 dB or less in 88% of thresholds compared to 91% for automated audiometry. Thresholds for automated audiometry did not differ significantly from manual audiometry with 87% of thresholds in the normal-hearing group and 97% in the hearingimpaired
group, corresponding within 5 dB or less of each other. The largest overall average absolute difference across frequencies was
3.6 – 3.9 dB for the normal-hearing group and 3.3 – 2.4 for the hearing-impaired group. Both techniques were equally time efficient in the normal-hearing population, and 63% of subjects preferred the automated threshold-seeking method. CONCLUSIONS : Automated audiometry provides reliable, accurate, and time-efficient hearing assessments for normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adults. Combined with an
asynchronous telehealth model it holds significant potential for reaching
underserved areas where hearing health professionals are unavailable.