National Acoustic Laboratories Library

Hearing tests are just child’s play: the sound scouts game for children entering school

By: Dillon, Harvey
Contributor(s): Carolyn Mee | Jesus Cuarhtermoc Moreno | John Seymour
Material type: TextTextSubject(s): Pediatric; tele-audiology/ tele-health; speech perception; computer basedOnline resources: Click here to access online In: International Journal of Audiology (April 2018) p. 1708-8186Abstract: Objective: To create a hearing test useable without the involvement of a clinician or calibrated equipment, suitable for children aged 5 or older. Design: The tablet-based app (Sound Scouts) includes tests of speech in quiet, speech in noise and tones in noise, all embedded in game designed to maintain attention. Data were collected to intelligibilityequalize the stimuli, establish normative performance, and evaluate the sensitivity with which Sound Scouts detected known hearing problems and identified their type. Study sample: Participants were children from age 5 to 14 (394 with normal hearing, 97 with previously identified hearing loss) and 50 adults with normal hearing. Results: With pass-fail criteria set such that 98% of children with normal hearing passed Sound Scouts, 85% of children with hearing loss failed Sound Scouts (after exclusion of children in either group who received an inconclusive result or had incomplete results). No child with four-frequency average hearing thresholds of 30 dB HL or greater in their poorer ear passed Sound Scouts. Hearing loss type was correctly identified in only two-thirds of those cases where the algorithm attempted to identify a single type of loss. Conclusions: Sound Scouts has specificity and sensitivity sufficiently high to provide hearing screening around the time children typically enter school.
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Objective: To create a hearing test useable without the involvement of a clinician or calibrated equipment,
suitable for children aged 5 or older.
Design: The tablet-based app (Sound Scouts) includes tests of speech in quiet, speech in noise and tones
in noise, all embedded in game designed to maintain attention. Data were collected to intelligibilityequalize
the stimuli, establish normative performance, and evaluate the sensitivity with which Sound
Scouts detected known hearing problems and identified their type.
Study sample: Participants were children from age 5 to 14 (394 with normal hearing, 97 with previously
identified hearing loss) and 50 adults with normal hearing.
Results: With pass-fail criteria set such that 98% of children with normal hearing passed Sound Scouts, 85%
of children with hearing loss failed Sound Scouts (after exclusion of children in either group who received
an inconclusive result or had incomplete results). No child with four-frequency average hearing thresholds
of 30 dB HL or greater in their poorer ear passed Sound Scouts. Hearing loss type was correctly identified in
only two-thirds of those cases where the algorithm attempted to identify a single type of loss.
Conclusions: Sound Scouts has specificity and sensitivity sufficiently high to provide hearing screening
around the time children typically enter school.

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