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Hearing loss is highly widespread problem worldwide. According to the World health organization 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and 32 million of these are children (Updated February 2017 source :WHO). So, early identification through screening is important to overcome the negative effects of untreated hearing impairment. These challenges may be solved by the utilization of increasingly available handheld device app technologies for the hearing assessments that are easy to use by unprofessional individuals. Over the years, several applications are developed for hand held devices that facilitate earlier diagnosis of hearing loss and various screening measures. They are subject - operated, less cost/open source and easily accessible. As, smart phone application provides easy user friendly operating with simple commands unskilled people could perform a self threshold estimation test anytime and anywhere in their day to day life. However, studies are needed to assess reliability and validity measures for these applications. In this study, the hearing thresholds were assessed with a Smartphone application hearing test version 1.1. 3 and audiometer in individuals with hearing impairment and normal hearing sensitivity. Total of 19 participants were recruited for the study which included 9 participants with various degrees of hearing loss and 10 participants with normal hearing sensitivity. Air Conduction thresholds were obtained across frequency range from 250 to 8000 Hz at every octave using conventional audiometer in a sound treated room and through android application (Hearing test version 1.1.3 ) in a quiet room. The thresholds were obtained for both right and left ear of the participants. The hearing thresholds were noted for both the measures and analyzed by using appropriate statistical method. A paired t test showed that there was no significant difference in thresholds across the procedures for all the frequencies (p>0.05) in individuals with normal hearing sensitivity. However, results showed there was a statistical difference in thresholds obtained using both the procedures in hearing impaired individuals. The thresholds obtained using mobile app was lesser compared to that obtained through audiometer in hearing impaired individuals. Thus the results of the present study show that we have to be cautious while screening through mobile app. The result shows that mobile app is underestimating the results in hearing impaired population. However, in Indian context, hearing screening is not feasible in rural areas, mainly due to the dearth of skilled professionals available to conduct the required tests and high costs of specialist equipment. However, the increasing availability of mobile application provides an opportunity to integrate their use into screening for ear and hearing conditions in a user - friendly handling of application in a cost effective way. According to a validation study (Jeffrey Yeung et al., 2013) they demonstrated a strong sensitivity (93.3%), specificity (94.5%) of using mobile application based audiometry for threshold estimation. However, the result of the present study is not in agreement from previous literature and further research is needed in large group of participants to comment further.
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