Sound Scouts recognised that mobile game technology could hold the key to creating an accessible hearing test solution for school aged children. Partnering with the National Acoustic Laboratories we created an app that provides parents with direct access to a hearing check for their children.
“What has been missing in the hearing health-care system is a low-cost, easily administered, reliable test of hearing that can be widely applied to children around school entry so that no child has to go through years of school at a disadvantage to others because of unmanaged hearing loss.” Professor Harvey Dillon.
Since inception Sound Scouts has been honoured with multiple national and international awards celebrating both our innovative approach to hearing screening and our creative use of technology.
Sound Scouts is a registered medical device ARTG Identifier: 297060.
The science of Sound Scouts has been documented in the article “Hearing tests are just child’s play: the Sound Scouts game for children entering school” published in the International Journal of Audiology
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 >intelligibility-equalize 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.