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A Smartphone-Based Approach to Screening for Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Cross-Sectional Validity Study.


ABSTRACT:

Background

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is an otologic emergency that warrants urgent management. Pure-tone audiometry remains the gold standard for definitively diagnosing SSNHL. However, in clinical settings such as primary care practices and urgent care facilities, conventional pure-tone audiometry is often unavailable.

Objective

This study aimed to determine the correlation between hearing outcomes measured by conventional pure-tone audiometry and those measured by the proposed smartphone-based Ear Scale app and determine the diagnostic validity of the hearing scale differences between the two ears as obtained by the Ear Scale app for SSNHL.

Methods

This cross-sectional study included a cohort of 88 participants with possible SSNHL who were referred to an otolaryngology clinic or emergency department at a tertiary medical center in Taipei, Taiwan, between January 2018 and June 2019. All participants underwent hearing assessments with conventional pure-tone audiometry and the proposed smartphone-based Ear Scale app consecutively. The gold standard for diagnosing SSNHL was defined as the pure-tone average (PTA) difference between the two ears being ?30 dB HL. The hearing results measured by the Ear Scale app were presented as 20 stratified hearing scales. The hearing scale difference between the two ears was estimated to detect SSNHL.

Results

The study sample comprised 88 adults with a mean age of 46 years, and 50% (44/88) were females. PTA measured by conventional pure-tone audiometry was strongly correlated with the hearing scale assessed by the Ear Scale app, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of .88 (95% CI .82-.92). The sensitivity of the 5-hearing scale difference (25 dB HL difference) between the impaired ear and the contralateral ear in diagnosing SSNHL was 95.5% (95% CI 87.5%-99.1%), with a specificity of 66.7% (95% CI 43.0%-85.4%).

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the proposed smartphone-based Ear Scale app can be useful in the evaluation of SSNHL in clinical settings where conventional pure-tone audiometry is not available.

SUBMITTER: Lin HH 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7688380 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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