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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.22.23290339

Extended High-Frequency Audiometry using the Wireless Automated Hearing Test System Compared to Manual Audiometry in Children and Adolescents

C. M.Blankenship L. Hickson T. Quigley E. Larsen L. Lin L. Hunter
Objectives: Reliable wireless automated audiometry that includes extended high frequencies (EHF) outside a sound booth would increase access to monitoring programs for individuals at risk for hearing loss, particularly those at risk for ototoxicity. The purpose of the study was to compare thresholds obtained with 1) standard manual audiometry to automated thresholds measured with the Wireless Automated Hearing Test System (WAHTS) inside a sound booth, and 2) automated audiometry in the sound booth to automated audiometry outside the sound booth in an office environment. Design: Cross-sectional, repeated measures study. Twenty-eight typically developing children and adolescents (mean = 14.6 yrs; range = 10 to 18 yrs). Audiometric thresholds were measured from 0.25 to 16 kHz with manual audiometry in the sound booth, automated audiometry in the sound booth, and automated audiometry in a typical office environment in counterbalanced order. Ambient noise levels were measured inside the sound booth and the office environment were compared to thresholds at each test frequency. Results: Automated thresholds were overall about 5 dB better compared to manual thresholds, with greater differences in the extended high frequency range (EHF;10-16 kHz). The majority of automated thresholds measured in a quiet office were within +/- 10 dB of automated thresholds measured in a sound booth (84%), while only 56% of automated thresholds in the sound booth were within +/- 10 dB of manual thresholds. No relationship was found between automated thresholds measured in the office environment and the average or maximum ambient noise level. Conclusions: These results indicate that self-administered, automated audiometry results in slightly better thresholds overall than manually administered audiometry in children, consistent with previous studies in adults. Ambient noise levels in a typical office environment did not have an adverse effect on audiometric thresholds measured using noise attenuation headphones. Thresholds measured using an automated tablet with noise attenuating headphones could improve access to hearing assessment for children with a variety of risk factors. Additional studies of extended high frequency automated audiometry in a wider age range are needed to establish normative thresholds.