OBJECTIVE : Accessibility of audiometry is hindered by the cost of sound booths and
shortage of hearing health personnel. This study investigated the validity of an
automated mobile diagnostic audiometer with increased attenuation and real-time noise
monitoring for clinical testing outside a sound booth.
DESIGN : Attenuation characteristics and reference ambient noise levels for the
computer-based audiometer (KUDUwave) was evaluated alongside the validity of
environmental noise monitoring. Clinical validity was determined by comparing air and bone conduction thresholds obtained inside and outside the sound booth (23 subjects).
Test-retest reliability was established for a sub-group of 11 subjects.
RESULTS : Improved passive attenuation and valid environmental noise monitoring was
demonstrated. Clinically, air conduction thresholds inside and outside the sound booth,
corresponded within 5 dB or less >90% of instances (mean absolute difference 3.3 ±
3.2SD). Bone conduction thresholds corresponded within 5 dB or less in 80% of
comparisons between test environments, with a mean absolute difference of 4.6 dB
(3.7SD). Threshold differences were not statistically significant. Mean absolute testretest
differences outside the sound booth was similar to those in the booth.
CONCLUSION : Diagnostic pure tone audiometry outside a sound booth using automated
testing, improved passive attenuation, and real-time environmental noise monitoring
demonstrated reliable hearing assessments.